GOP picks up momentum for likely Senate takeover in November

David Mark --- Politix

A series of new polls show GOP challengers in contested races ahead of Democratic incumbents. That's bad news for Senate Democrats, who are looking to salvage the majority they've held since 2007, which currently stands at 55-45 over Republicans.

Three seats in conservative-leaning states are practically gone - West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana. That's been the case for much of the year. But here's the real disheartening news for Democrats. A new NBC News/Marist poll shows that GOP Senate candidates have opened up leads in key states.

In Arkansas, where two-term Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is running for re-election, GOP Rep. Tom Cotton is up 45%-40%. In Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell - who would become majority leader if Republicans win the Senate, is up over his well-funded Democratic challenger, Secretary of State Allison Lundergran Grimes, 47%-39%.

And in Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is only beating his highly-touted Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, 48-42%. The Colorado Senate race was not initially expected to even be all that competitive.

Elections guru Nate Silver says Republicans have the momentum: "Pollsters are picking up the pace after a slow start in this midterm election season... The bottom line is not much has changed. The FiveThirtyEight forecast model gives Republicans a 65.1% chance of winning the Senate with the new polling added, similar to the 63.5% chance that our previous forecast gave them on Friday."

"But the path to a Republican majority is becoming a little clearer - and the problem for Democrats is that it runs through six deeply red states."

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