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
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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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