SPOTLIGHT

Senate Races, By The Numbers

NEW ORLEANS - MAY 3: Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu shakes hands with a supporter during a swearing in ceremony for her brother Mitchell Landrieu, who is now Mayor of New Orleans May 3, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mayor Landrieu is inheriting a host of disaster related issues from Hurricane Katrina and the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as he takes over for Mayor Ray Nagin.
National Journal
Josh Kraushaar
March 13, 2014, 7:40 a.m.

Four battle­ground Sen­ate sur­veys con­duc­ted in mid-Feb­ru­ary from lead­ing Demo­crat­ic poll­ster Har­ris­on Hick­man il­lus­trate just how dif­fi­cult the polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment is shap­ing up to be for Demo­crats in 2014. The polls, con­duc­ted in mid-Feb­ru­ary, show Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pry­or (D-AR), Kay Hagan (D-NC), and Mark Ud­all (D-CO) in vary­ing de­grees of trouble ““ from dire to vul­ner­able.

— The most alarm­ing num­bers were in Louisi­ana. Landrieu’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity is 10 points un­der­wa­ter (42/52), and she loses to a gen­er­ic Re­pub­lic­an by 11 points, 47-36%. Against her lead­ing GOP chal­lenger Rep. Bill Cas­sidy, she trails 46-42%. The ads at­tack­ing her on Obama­care have made an im­pact: 38% view her “very un­fa­vor­ably,” not far from Pres­id­ent Obama‘s 45% fig­ure.

— If any­thing, Pry­or’s num­bers, while mid­dling, looked bet­ter by com­par­is­on. His per­son­al fa­vor­ab­il­ity is still sol­id at 47%/36%, even with Obama’s dis­mal 32%/65% num­bers. And among likely voters, he’s tied with Rep. Tom Cot­ton (R) at 46%. But there are clear warn­ing signs: Likely voters sup­por­ted a gen­er­ic Re­pub­lic­an 47-39% over Pry­or. And among def­in­ite voters, he trails Cot­ton, 51-42%. These num­bers sug­gest the race is still win­nable, but re­quires Demo­crats turn­ing Cot­ton in­to a polit­ic­al pari­ah ““ a dif­fi­cult task, giv­en his bio­graphy.

— The news is also mixed for Hagan. On the pos­it­ive side, Obama’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity is much bet­ter in NC, at 46/50. And there’s a great­er in­tens­ity level of sup­port for the pres­id­ent (33% strongly fa­vor­able), along with angry op­pos­i­tion (40% strongly un­fa­vor­able). And Hagan’s net fa­vor­ab­il­ity (41/42) is bet­ter than her lead­ing, less­er-known GOP rival Thom Tillis (13/20). But Hagan only leads Tillis 45-41%among likely voters, and trails a gen­er­ic Re­pub­lic­an, 44-38%.

Like Pry­or, Ud­all’s fa­vor­ab­il­ity is re­spect­able but very soft. He’s viewed pos­it­ively by 46% of voters, but barely led flawed, one-time GOP chal­lenger Ken Buck, 46-42%. (The poll was con­duc­ted be­fore Rep. Cory Gard­ner entered the race.) Against a gen­er­ic Re­pub­lic­an, he trails 41-36%. Obama’s ap­prov­al is 44%, with in­tens­ity on the side of his op­pos­i­tion. These are the types of num­bers that led Gard­ner to change his mind and chal­lenge Ud­all. And all the polls paint a pic­ture of a Demo­crat­ic party whose Sen­ate ma­jor­ity is hanging in the bal­ance.
— Josh Kraush­aar

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