Hot Topic: How Many Senate Seats Will the GOP Win in November?

Three weeks from the midterm elections and state polls are coming fast and furious. Republicans are surging in Colorado but faltering in Kansas. Many races are so close that each successive poll that comes out shows first one candidate, then the other in the lead.

Republicans need to win a net six seats to take control of the Senate. They are ahead in seven races for seats held by Democrats and close in three others. But how much confidence can we have in the accuracy of the polls?

Polls are useful snapshots of a given moment in the campaign, but trends are what matters.

There has been little change in that overall forecast –the chance of a Republican takeover now stands at 58 percent. But things have changed. The national environment and the state polling are no longer in opposition to one another. Instead, the two of them have actually converged. They both point to a slight Republican edge.

FiveThirtyEight estimates that the generic ballot favors Republicans by 0.5 percentage points. This may seem low given that a lot of press was given to a recent CBS News poll putting Republicans ahead by 6 percentage points and a Fox News poll that had them up 7 percentage points among likely voters. Yet, other surveys tell a different story. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll gave Democrats a 2 percentage point lead, Rasmussen Reports has had Democrats ahead the last two weeks and Ipsos also had Democrats up by 2 percentage points.

The national polling in aggregate does not, at this point, point to a Republican tide. That’s not all that surprising given, as I have pointed out, Congress’s low approval rating, which is helping to cancel out much of the effect of the president’s poor standing among Americans.

One poll by itself tells us little. But looking at state and national polls and factoring in advantages and disadvantages gives the Republicans reason to hope that they have a Senate majority in sight.

We've heard from the so-called experts. Now we want to hear from you. How many Senate seats do you think the GOP will win in November?

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