Generic polling seems to get worse for Republicans daily, but the news on individual races–which are all that matter in the end–isn’t nearly as bad. Blog of the Week Real Clear Politics notes that Senator Rick Santorum continues to close the gap on Democrat Bob Casey:
In the most closely watched Senate race this year, embattled Republican incumbent Rick Santorum has pulled to within 6 points of State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., 47%-41%. Franklin & Marshall’s Keystone Poll released yesterday represents the first time since June of last year that Mr. Santorum has not trailed by double digits. Back in November Mr. Casey’s lead was a whopping 16 points.
Santorum’s improvement results from the fact that Casey’s unfavorability rating, which started out near zero, has been rising. John McIntyre writes:
With Mr. Casey registering only a 13% unfavorable rating – as compared 33% for Mr. Santorum – there remains plenty of room for the Santorum campaign to drive Casey’s unfavorable number higher.***
The Santorum-Casey race is not just another seat that is in play like Mike DeWine (R) in Ohio or Jim Talent (R) in Missouri. Democrats must beat Mr. Santorum to have any chance for a big election night this fall. It’s hard to imagine Democrats will be in a position to take back the Senate – or the House for that matter – if the Santorum-Casey race is a toss-up heading into election day.
The Senate race in Minnesota between Congressman Mark Kennedy and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar is shaping up better than expected for the Republicans, too. I got an inside tip yesterday about a poll that was just done by the DFL party. Stunningly, it showed that Democrat Amy Klobuchar is doing very poorly in outstate Minnesota, and as a result the race is a dead heat. If Mark Kennedy is really anywhere near even with Klobuchar at this point in the campaign, Klobuchar could be in serious trouble. Especially since she has a hard time keeping a staff together; her former colleagues in the Hennepin County Attorney’s office have declined to endorse her, and she has already lost one campaign manager.