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.