A recent Fox Opinion Dynamics Poll suggests that the Republicans are poised to pick up Senate seats hitherto owned by Democrats. These are the ones held by Harry Reid in Nevada and the one once held by Robert Byrd in West Virginia.
The Nevada Senate race shows Sharron Angle now three points ahead of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at 49 to 46 percent. Despite the fact that the Reid campaign has pummeled Angle for her “extremist” views, Angle has held on gamely. Now Angle may be pulling away, four short weeks before the election. The reason is not surprising. Senator Reid remains very unpopular for his support for the Obama agenda in the Senate. All that the media campaign against Angle has done is hold the race to a tossup. That may be about to end, though, as opinions start to harden.
The more surprising poll result comes from the West Virginia Senate race. Republican candidate John Raese has opened a five-point lead over West Virginia Governor John Manchin at 48 to 43 percent. This is despite the fact that Manchin remains personally popular with West Virginians, with a 66 percent job approval rating and a 65 percent personal rating.
However, the reason Manchin is lagging in the Senate race is not hard to understand, once one looks at some of the other numbers. President Barack Obama has a 29 percent approval rating in West Virginia, largely due to his opposition to the coal industry. West Virginia is a coal mining state, with a lot of jobs dependent on that industry. The same people who could be relied upon to return Robert Byrd to office automatically every year appear to be ready to elect a Republican to replace him.
The parallels with Scott Brown in Massachusetts, a Republican who replaced another dead liberal icon, Teddy Kennedy, are positively eerie.
These poll results suggest that even if the Republicans do not take the US Senate, and there are a growing number of analysts who believe it is in the realm of possibility, the Democratic margin will be much smaller. If that majority does not include Harry Reid, then the Democrats will be compelled to elect a new leader. The front runner for that job is Charles Schumer, the liberal Senator from New York. It would be his unenviable task to try to entice enough moderate Republicans to pass whatever is left of the Obama agenda. There may be two problems with that.
One, there may not be enough moderate Republicans to break a filibuster without huge concessions. Two, since the House is likely to go Republican, that may not matter anyway.
Source: Fox News Polls: GOP Poised to Gain or Hold Senate Seats in Key States, Chris Stirewalt. Fox News, October 5th, 2010