Good news for GOP Senate hopes in new round of polling

A large collection of new Senate polls from the New York Times/CBS and NBC/Marist are very good news for the GOP effort to retake the Senate. 

In the two most vulnerable seats held by Republicans -- Kentucky and Georgia -- the latest polls show Mitch McConnell and David Perdue expanding their leads.  Some Democrats had hoped to add Kansas to the target list, but it looks like the scheme to get the less popular Democratic nominee to give up his effort in hopes an independent could defeat Pat Roberts in a one-on-one race, may be stymied with the Secretary of State ruling the Democrat's name will remain on the ballot.

In the pickup department, virtually everyone has conceded that Republicans will win 3 seats in South Dakota (Rounds), West Virginia (Capito), and Montana (Daines). In two other close races, Republicans seem to have pulled ahead by 4-5 point margins -- Alaska (Dan Sullivan) and Arkansas (Tom Cotton). Alaska has seen a sharp recent move after Democrat Mike Begich blew his incumbency advantage by trying to blame his Republican opponent for release of a criminal in a new ad. When the victim's family complained and asked for the ad to be removed, the damage was done. Begich had campaigned on two themes -- I have been in Alaska longer than my opponent (he is "from away" as they would say in Maine), and "tell me again who Barack Obama is?”). Now he is on defense.

These two races bring the GOP to 50, and then you have the races that still appear to be virtually tied -- small leads for Republicans (Tillis and Cassidy) in North Carolina and Louisiana, a tiny lead for  Democrat Bruce Braley in Iowa, and Gary Peters in Michigan, and a slightly larger leads for Udall in Colorado. In a real wave election, where lots of races are decided narrowly for the same party, the GOP could get to 55, not counting New Hampshire, where Scott Brown seems to be inching closer to Jean Shaheen.

Several analysts have note recently that many of the races seem to be just where they were three months ago. That is less true today, evidenced by these new surveys, with the GOP in much better shape in Kentucky, Georgia, Alaska, Iowa, Arkansas and New Hampshire.