ByÂ Dave Boyer-The Washington Times
Since Aug. 1, the prospects for RepublicanÂ SenateÂ candidates have improved in five hotly contested states while Democratsâ€™ fortunes have risen in three races, including Missouri, according to Real Clear Politics.
â€œWe can take theÂ SenateÂ without Missouri,â€Â Mr. McConnellÂ said at aÂ GannettÂ newsmaker session in Tampa, Fla., ahead of the Republican National Convention. â€œItâ€™d be a lot easier to take it with Missouri.â€
Democrats and independents who align with them now control theÂ Senate, 53-47. But in the 33Â SenateÂ seats up for election in November, Democrats must defend 21, plus the two independentsâ€™ seats in Vermont and Connecticut.
Republicans must defend 10 seats.
As of Monday, Real Clear Politicsâ€™ projections based on the latest polling show that Republicans would pick up fourÂ SenateÂ seats â€” in Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana.
Democrats would pick up a seat in Maine held by retiringÂ Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, a Republican. The result would be a net gain of three seats for Republicans and a 50-50 balance in theÂ Senate. Ties would be broken by the person elected as vice president, either DemocratÂ Joseph R. BidenÂ or RepublicanÂ Paul Ryan.
â€œWhatâ€™s tough for the Democrats is there are so many seats theyâ€™re defending,â€ saidÂ Carl Tobias, a professor at theÂ University of Richmond SchoolÂ of Law. â€œI donâ€™t think it will be more than 52-48 either way.â€
In Virginia, the race between RepublicanÂ George AllenÂ and DemocratÂ Tim KaineÂ is as close as ever, Real Clear Politicsâ€™ average of polls showsÂ Mr. KaineÂ leading by 0.6 percentage points â€” a statistical tie.
Since early July, neither candidate has been able to open up a lead of more than 2 percentage points in surveys.
â€œTheyâ€™re both former governors, so they both have pretty broad name recognition,â€Â Mr. TobiasÂ said. â€œA lot will depend on what happens at the top of the ticket, and whether there are people who will split votes. The Republicans have done a pretty good job of tyingÂ KaineÂ to the president, and I think that has kept him from pulling away.â€
President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have been campaigning relentlessly in Virginia, which Mr. Obama won four years ago.
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