Democratic operatives and party strategists are closely divided about their prospects for holding onto two key Senate seats in Illinois and Pennsylvania that would preserve their majority in the Senate, while Republicans are very optimistic that they will fall to the GOP on Nov. 2, according to the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll.
Asked to predict the winners in four key Senate races -- Kentucky, Illinois, Nevada and Pennsylvania -- a solid majority of the 90 Democratic Insiders who participated in the poll this week, 64 percent, thought that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would pull out his race in Nevada, but 83 percent also thought that Democratic nominee in Kentucky, Attorney General Jack Conway, would fall short.
In Illinois, 52 percent of the Democratic Insiders said that their nominee Alexi Giannoulias would win while 48 percent thought that GOP hopeful Rep. Mark Kirk would take the seat previously held by Pres. Barack Obama. By an almost identical margin, 53 percent to 47 percent, Democratic Insiders said that Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic standard bearer in Pennsylvania, would beat his GOP opponent Pat Toomey.
At the same time, the 87 Republican Insiders who responded this week thought that their candidates in all four states would handily win. The closest contest among these four was in Nevada where 70 percent thought that GOP nominee Sharron Angle would win while 30 percent said Reid would hold onto his seat.
For a look at how many seats the Insiders think the GOP will pick up in the House and Senate, click here.