The 2010 midterms are now just 43 days away, with Republicans hoping to gain a majority in one or both chambers of Congress, and Democrats struggling to hold on to power. As the polling below shows, Republicans continue to hold a significant lead in most generic ballots. However, Democrats have closed the margin between them and Republicans over the last week. In addition, there are some signs that Democrats may be gaining the offensive on the debate over the Bush tax cuts. The picture is still bleak for Democrats, but not as bleak as it was just seven days ago. Here are the latest updates on stories affecting the 2010 midterm elections. The latest polling data for key races can be seen in the slideshow to the left.
– Democrats feel more confident in their ability to maintain a majority in the Senate following the primary victory of Republican Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. O’Donnell won as a Tea Party-backed candidate against the United States Representative Mike Castle (R-DE). Rep. Castle was leading in polls by double-digits against the Democratic nominee Christopher Coons, but O’Donnell trails Coons by double-digits. Since her victory a number of embarrassing videos have emerged showing O’Donnell making controversial or odd statements. Many analysts, including Karl Rove, believe that Republicans likely lost the election with O’Donnell’s victory. Republicans need to win every competitive race in order to gain a majority in the Senate, and it seems extremely unlikely that they will be able to do that with O’Donnell’s win.
– The debate over the extension, or lack thereof, of the Bush tax cuts has come to dominate the 2010 midterm elections. President Obama started the Democratic offensive by calling on Republicans to stop holding the middle-class tax cuts “hostage” to their demands for a tax cut for the wealthy. In addition, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid are trying to organize some kind of vote on an extension of the middle-class tax cut only. If such a vote were held it could put Republicans in a difficult position of either voting for the middle-class tax cuts and losing their leverage to pass the other Bush tax cuts, or voting against the middle-class tax cuts and giving Democrats an avenue of attack.
– Quietly the recent economic data has actually been fairly positive. The last two weekly jobless claims have exceeded analyst epectations, signaling a slightly better job market. In addition, wholesale prices rose 0.4%, which was more than the 0.2% analyst predicted. Increased prices are seen as a positive sign as some analysts feared sluggish growth could lead to the problem of deflation.
See the latest polls for the 2010 midterms in the slideshow to the left.