Democratic Senate candidates running in key battlegrounds this fall will be carrying a huge burden — the president of the United States.
A new NPR poll released Thursday found President Barack Obama with a significantly lower approval rating among likely voters in 12 states with competitive Senate races this November.
Obama’s approval rating in those 12 states — eight of which were won in 2012 by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — sits at only 38%. According to a Real Clear Politics average of recent polling, Obama’s approval rating across the nation is just more than 42%. Meanwhile, Obama’s disapproval rating is 58% — including 46% who “strongly disapprove.”
Perhaps most importantly, Obama’s approval rating with self-identified Independent voters in the 12 states sits at a dreadful 33%, while 47% “strongly disapprove” of his job performance.
The new poll’s result is hardly surprising, considering some of the deep-red states included. However, it is another indicator of just how challenging it will be for Democrats to retain control of the Senate this fall. Overall, 36 Senate seats are up in 2014: Twenty-one of those seats are currently held by a Democratic incumbent and 15 seats are held by a Republican.
The 12 states included in the poll were; Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Republicans currently control two of those seats — Kentucky and Georgia — and the rest are open. The GOP needs to swing six seats this fall while holding onto their two competitive seats to take control of the Senate.
If Republicans do take control of the Senate, they would hold majorities in both chambers of Congress, effectively making Obama an early lame-duck president in his last two years in office.
Obama’s low approval ratings are the reason many Democratic senators in key battleground states have attempted to bridge a gap between themselves and Obama. It’s also why Republican candidates keep trying to tie their Democratic opponents to the president.
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