If so, that would yield a Senate next January with 53 Republicans, but right now, four of those Democrats are still wanting a serious Republican opponent. Here in California where we don’t yet whether or not Tom Campbell or Carly Fiorina will be facing Barbara Boxer, we do know that Ma’am remains at or below 50% in all polls (save when matched up with DeVore). And she’s not viewed all that favorably by her constituents.
And Ma’am’s not the only Democrat looking vulnerable, though she’s in a stronger position than her colleagues from “redder” states. Michael Barone notes that liberal blogger/polling analyst Nate Silver’s “bottom line” in analyzing the Senate races “is the same as that of Larry Sabato: at the moment, Democrats are likely to lose seven seats and pick up none.”
Five seats I pegged as winnable for the GOP are not on the list. Well, the latest polls show I was right to include Wisconsin as potential Republican pickups. Ed Morrissey reports that they show Russ Feingold trailing former Governor Tommy Thompson:
Wisconsin could be a big surprise, too. It has sent reliable liberals like Feingold and Herb Kohl to the Senate for several cycles (21 years for Kohl, 17 years for Feingold), but outside of the big college towns, the state is more conservo-populist, not unlike the Dakotas. Feingold has built a reputation for straight talk which has kept his constituents’ respect even when Feingold goes more to the left than they do.
Those days are apparently over. Not only does Feingold trail Thompson by four points, his job approval numbers have gone underwater, 47/48. The voting public has also turned more substantially away from Feingold on policy. Fifty-nine percent want to see tax cuts as a cure for a bad economy, against only 15% for more government spending. Almost two thirds (65%) reject the Democrats’ argument that the economy is improving (41% say worse, 24% says it’s the same), while only 28% believe it’s improving.
The numbers look good for Thompson–or another Republican who tosses his hat into the ring. Certainly, given the results in the Bay State last week, Republicans in the Badger State are considering this race more seriously. Let’s hope a smart state legislator or other accomplished official decides to take on the three-term Democrat. Meanwhile, let’s hope Republicans come up with strong candidates in Indiana, Washington State and New York (Gillibrand) as well.
And should these guys and gals run the tables on the Democrats and Chuck Schumer survives, well, then, I’m sure he’d make a fine Minority Leader.