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U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) is flanked by Senator John Thune (R-SD) (L) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) (R) as he addresses reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, February 4, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES
The Republican dream of a Red Senate is in peril
New Senate numbers from a survey conducted for The New York Times by The Kaiser Foundation of registered voters in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina from April 8-15, 2014 with a margin of error of ±4 percent ((pdf):
Arkansas
Mark Pryor 46
Tom Cotton 36

Kentucky
Mitch McConnell 44
Allison Lundergan Grimes 43

Louisiana (multiway primary)
Mary Landrieu 42
Bill Cassidy 18
Paul Hollis 5
Rob Mannes 4

North Carolina
Kay Hagan 42
Thom Tillis 40

These sorts of numbers underscore what kos wrote last week when he showed why it won't be as easy as Republicans think for them to win control of the Senate. In all likelihood, they need to win each of these four races to achieve their dream of a Red Senate, but these polls show them trailing in 3 of the 4 contests and with a Republican incumbent up by only one point in the fourth while falling well below the 50 percent threshold.

Another interesting finding from the poll is that the Democratic Party appears to be in better shape than one might expect it to be in the south:

The poll also found that Democratic governors fared better than Republican ones. Gov. Mike Beebe, Democrat of Arkansas, whom term limits prevent from running again, enjoys a 68 percent approval rating. The race this year is effectively tied, with the former Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson drawing 41 percent and the former Democratic congressman Mike Ross winning 40 percent. In Kentucky, 56 percent of voters favored the job performance of Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who cannot run for re-election next year. In Louisiana, only 40 percent approved of the job that Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, is doing, while in North Carolina, the view of the performance of Gov. Pat McCrory, who is not up for re-election until 2016, was split, with 43 percent approving and 44 percent disapproving.
Obviously these numbers come from just a single poll and if you're going to draw firm conclusions about the races you should take a broader look at the data. The good news there, however, is that Democrats are leading in 3 of the 4 states: Arkansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina with an extremely close race in Louisiana, assuming Landrieu can't avoid a runoff.

8:57 AM PT: The New York Times is (predictably) facing criticism for the polls because they look good for Democrats. As usual, the main criticism is about whether they obtained a good sample. Their defense is here, but a key thing to remember is that it's not just the NYT polls showing close races: The multi-poll averages linked at the end of the post also show tight contests.


Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 08:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE, Louisiana Kossacks, My Old Kentucky Kos, and Daily Kos Elections.

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