The Montana race was always expected to be among the nation's closest contests this fall, and Democrats became increasingly bullish on their chances in deep-red North Dakota this summer. But taken together, the polls point to Republicans' uphill battle to win the 4 seats necessary to take control of the Senate next year; Republicans could also grab control after Inauguration Day with a net-gain of 3 seats if Paul Ryan becomes vice president. Republicans also received a bit of good news on Friday, when a new Muhlenberg College poll of 427 likely voters in Pennsylvania, conducted Sept. 22-26 for the Morning Call of Allentown, showed GOP businessman Tom Smith closing to within single digits against Democratic Sen. Robert Casey, 44 percent to 36 percent. But the change between the new survey and the previous Muhlenberg College poll two weeks ago showing Casey leading by 12 points is not statistically significant; the poll's margin of error is plus-or-minus 5 percentage points.
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