While it’s too soon to know if the Republican wave that carried the party to record victories in the 2010 elections will continue or crest in November, a handful of Democratic Senate candidates are posting strong poll numbers in battleground states dominated by the GOP two years ago — giving that party hope that it can hang on to its slim advantage in the chamber.
Incumbent Democrats in Florida, Ohio and Michigan are ahead of Republican challengers in most independent surveys. In Wisconsin’s openSenate race, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, is polling well against a crowded GOP field.
Republicans say it’s too early to pay much attention to polls in those states, especially because senatorial primaries are still months away in most. Also, GOP Senate candidates are polling well against Democrats in several other states.
Still, the early Democratic poll success is welcome news for a party still smarting from an electoral smackdown less than 18 months ago, when it lost control of the House, several Senate seats and gubernatorial posts across the country.
“The head winds in 2010 were very powerful in the Republican direction, and so 2010 should not be taken as indicative of the kinds of results you’re going to get in a normal year,” said Paul A. Beck, a political science professor at Ohio State University.