Two new NBC/Marist polls indicate Republican Senate candidates have opened up leads in at least two races critical to the GOP taking back control of the Senate this November.
In the Senate’s marquee race, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) now leads his Democratic challenger, Alison Grimes, 47% to 39% among likely voters, the poll found. That’s a change from May, when the two candidates “were essentially deadlocked.”
Even more concerning for Democrats, however, may be another NBC/Marist poll released Sunday.
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) has slipped behind his challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton (R), 40% to 45% among likely voters, the survey said. That’s a huge shift from the firm’s May poll that found Pryor ahead by 11 points among all registered voters.
Democrats face uphill terrain in their quest to keep the Senate as many of the key races are in Republican-leaning states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
However, Marist found some good news in Colorado, a swing state Obama won in 2012 and 2008. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) holds a comfortable, 6-point lead over Rep. Cory Gardner (R), whose surprising entry into the Senate race helped boost GOP prospects for retaking the chamber.
“So these polls suggest a tale of red states vs. blue states,” NBC’s survey write-up concluded. “Republicans are winning the GOP-leaning states; Democrats — at least in Colorado — are holding on in the Dem-leaning ones.”
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