Monday, October 27, 2014

Independent and third party candidates may spoil Senate races

voting lesser evilWith control of the Senate coming down to a few seats that are too close to call, independent and third party candidates are positioned to play the spoiler in a number of races. In an unusual development, two independent candidates are making strong campaigns in two states. In several other states, Libertarian candidates are gaining just enough traction to affect the outcome of a close race. One three-way race pits a Tea Party favorite against another Republican and a Democrat.

The biggest outside threat to a race comes in Kansas, where independent Greg Orman is in a statistical tie with Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. The Democratic candidate, Chad Taylor, dropped out under pressure from national Democrats to step aside for Orman, a longtime Democrat supporter according to the Washington Examiner. Orman refuses say which party he would caucus with if he becomes the deciding vote in the Senate.

Another independent candidate is South Dakota’s Larry Pressler. Pressler is a former Republican congressman and Senator who supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Pressler, whose policy agenda closely aligns with Democratic positions these days, polled almost even with Mike Rounds (R), a former governor and the favorite to win the seat in early October. The poll, from Survey USA, also found that Pressler voters preferred Rick Weiland, the Democratic candidate, over Mike Rounds by almost a two-to-one margin.

The Libertarian Party is also positioned to spoil a number of races. The Libertarian website notes that there are Libertarian candidates on the ballot in nearly every battleground Senate race. These include Mark Fish in Alaska, Nathan LaFrane in Arkansas, Gaylon Kent in Colorado, Amanda Swafford in Georgia, Doug Butzier in Iowa, Randall Batson in Kansas, David Patterson in Kentucky, Roger Roots in Montana, and Sean Hough in North Carolina.

These Libertarian candidates have no chance of winning. Most don’t even show up in the polls, but they do have the potential to throw close races to the Democrats. Libertarian candidates often draw support disproportionately from voters who would otherwise support the Republican candidate.  This was the case last year in the Virginia gubernatorial election where a Libertarian candidate helped Democrat Terry McAuliffe eke out a three point victory over Ken Cuccinelli. In the Virginia race, and likely in others as well, Democratic fundraisers bankrolled the Libertarian candidate in order to dilute conservative votes according to campaign finance filings published by The Blaze.

In Georgia and Louisiana, candidates are required to get over 50 percent of the vote to win. If no candidate gets 50 percent, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff election. At this point, no candidate in either state is polling at more than 50 percent.

In Georgia, the most recent poll, by Landmark Communications, shows David Perdue (R) and Michelle Nunn (D) in a dead heat with 47 percent each. Amanda Swafford, the Libertarian candidate is at three percent and two percent are undecided. With Swafford in the race, it is likely that Perdue and Nunn will face each other in a runoff in January.

In Lousiana, incumbent Mary Landrieu (D) faces two Republicans. The Real Clear Politics average shows Landrieu with a slight lead over her two opponents, but falling far short of the necessary 50 percent. The leading Republican, Bill Cassidy, trails Landrieu by three points while Rob Maness, the Tea Party favorite, is a distant third with eight percent. Polling shows that Cassidy leads Landrieu in a two-way race and should and should have an edge in the runoff in December.

In both cases, a runoff would favor Republicans says analyst Dick Morris. Republican voters tend to be more motivated to vote in runoff elections and the absence of the third candidate would likely shift more votes to the GOP candidates. Additionally, Morris speculates that momentum after the Nov. 4 general election will likely favor Republicans, especially if the party captures the necessary six seats to control the Senate in the first round of elections.

In every race, with the sole exception of Kansas, the final victor is certain to be either a Democrat or a Republican. The question is whether enough voters will vote for independent and third party candidates to affect the outcome of the other races and perhaps the balance of the Senate.

Read the full article on Examiner.com

Friday, October 24, 2014

President Obama admits that Voter ID is not voter suppression

President Obama admitted to the nation on Tuesday that controversial voter ID laws do not suppress the minority vote. The president, speaking in a radio interview, said that the primary reason that minority voters stay away from the polls was apathy.

Speaking on “Keeping It Real” with Al Sharpton, President Obama admitted, “Most of these laws are not preventing the overwhelming majority of folks who don't vote from voting. Most people do have an ID. Most people do have a driver's license. Most people can get to the polls. It may not be as convenient; it may be a little more difficult. There may be a few people who are impeded.”

The Justice Department, led by Obama appointee Eric Holder, had argued precisely the opposite. In challenges to numerous state voter ID laws, the government had argued that the laws were unfair to minority voters and liberals charged that they were an attempt to suppress black voters, who traditionally support Democrats.

Obama’s admission comes in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the new Texas voter ID law for this year’s midterm elections. In addition to a battle for control of the U.S. Senate, the election in Texas features a heated gubernatorial race between Republican Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis, a rising star of the Democratic Party.

In the same interview, Obama answered Sharpton’s query about people who were worried about the reliability of vulnerable Democrats. “Here’s the bottom line,” Obama said, “We’ve got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn’t win. So some of the candidates there, it’s difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turnout. The bottom line though is these are all folks who vote with me, they have supported my agenda in Congress….” The president continued, “They are the right side of minimum wage, they are on the right side of fair pay, they are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure, they are on the right side of early childhood education. So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me and I tell them, you do what you need to win….”

Voter ID laws have generally been upheld by the Supreme Court. According to Ballotpedia, 19 states, including Georgia, now have laws on the books requiring voters to present photo identification.

Read the full article on Examiner.com

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to solve the GOP problem with minorities and millennnials

Barack Obama’s two presidential election victories were built on the backs of three groups in which he received landslide victories. Obama won with margins on the order of two-to-one with black, Hispanic and young voters both times he ran. These lopsided numbers provided him with the slim margin that he needed to eke out a victory over Mitt Romney in spite of a strong showing by Romney among white voters. If any Republican hopes to win a national election in the future, it is axiomatic that he must slice deeply into the Democratic advantage with minority and millennial voters.

The Democratic plan has been one of targeting their message to individual demographic groups in a divide-and-conquer strategy. Black voters are told that Republicans are racist and want to suppress them at the polls and repeal the Voting Rights Act. Hispanics are told that Republicans are racist and want to deport them. Millennials are swayed by Obama’s “cool” factor. The razor thin rationales targeting the various demographic groups should be permeable to Republican attacks.

President Obama’s unpopularity and the failure of his agenda present a unique opportunity for Republicans. Voters who were firmly in the Obama camp may now be willing to listen to alternative viewpoints. Charles Ellison recently wrote in The Root that dissatisfaction with the president and high black unemployment are resulting in tempered black support for Democratic candidates. Likewise, high unemployment among millennials may hurt their support for Democrats as well. With respect to Hispanics, Democrats have promised immigration reform for six years and failed to deliver.

The necessary first step for Republicans is to remove the stumbling blocks that prevent minorities from voting for Republican candidates. Republican candidates should put themselves in the shoes of minority voters and acknowledge that black and Hispanic Americans do have a different experience than white Americans. Republicans should take this into account and consider how certain messages will sound to minority voters.

Guilt by association is real. Conservatives should temper their enthusiasm for the defense of people like George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson. Springing to the defense of alleged murderers, especially before all the facts are known, is just as wrong as calling for their heads. Conservatives should also distance themselves from racists such as Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. These people have the freedom to spout racist nonsense, but they don’t have the freedom to duck the consequences.

Conservatives should also refrain from pointing out that Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the other race baiters are the real racists. It’s obvious, but also irrelevant, that there is a double standard.

The biggest stumbling block for Hispanics is immigration. The Tea Party fringe that insists on deportation and no “amnesty,” by which they mean any immigration reform, seems bent on driving Latinos permanently into the Democratic camp. These opponents of “amnesty” claim not to the see the problems in the current system in which businesses and farms depend on immigrant labor, but under which legal immigration can take decades.

The next step for Republicans is to show up. Republican candidates should make frequent visits to ethnic neighborhoods and listen to the voters there. This should not merely be an election year exercise. They should forge long-term relationships with community leaders. It is harder to paint a Republican as an evil racist if the people already know and trust him. Minority voters won’t vote for Republicans if Republican candidates don’t show up to ask for their votes.

Finally, Republicans should find out where a majority Americans agree with them and oppose the Democrats. An October 2014 Gallup poll found that the top three issues for voters were the economy (17 percent), dissatisfaction with government (16 percent) and unemployment/jobs (10 percent). These were the only issues to rank in double-digits and, coincidentally, a separate Gallup poll found that voters favor Republicans on these issues. These are the issues that Republicans should be talking about.

While Republicans should not mimic the Democratic ploy of making separate promises to different demographic groups, they should target campaign messages to different groups. While it is true that a rising tide lifts all boats and that conservative principles would benefit the nation as a whole, Republicans can no longer simply spin out a generic message and wait for minority voters to flock to their banner.

The best strategy may be to take the advice of economist Arthur Brooks, who wrote in the Wall St. Journal that conservatives must make their policies personal to voters instead of railing against abstract ideas and things. By connecting with voters on a personal level and explaining how conservative ideas can help the poor, Brooks says, “Conservative leaders will be able to stand before Americans who are struggling and feel marginalized and say, ‘We will fight for you and your family, whether you vote for us or not’—and truly mean it.”

This means that conservatives should spend less time talking about abstract ideas and social issues. Republicans must deemphasize issues like abortion, marriage and even the repeal of ObamaCare. They should completely stop talking about things like amnesty, impeachment, and birth certificates. At best these issues are divisive. At worst, they alienate voters.

What Republicans should spend more time talking about how is Democratic policies hurt real people and their families, playing to their advantage on the economy and jobs. Republican candidates should stand with the unemployed who have been unable to find jobs in the Obama economy, the family breadwinner struggling to support a family on less than he made in 2008, the college graduate with no employment prospects and the cancer patient whose health insurance policy was canceled due to the Affordable Care Act. Republicans should make an emotional connection with voters by putting names and faces to real effects of the Obama agenda.

When the Republicans win control of the Senate, passing immigration reform unilaterally should be a top priority. If President Obama chooses to veto Republican immigration reform, the Democrats might well incur the wrath of Hispanic voters, while the Republicans could, for once, be the party of “si’.” Democrats promised immigration reform for six years, but didn’t deliver. This leaves the GOP with an opportunity. One need look back no further than 2004, or even more recently to Chris Christie in New Jersey and Rick Perry in Texas, to see that a conservative can win Hispanic votes.

With respect to millennials, emphasizing jobs and playing down social issues may help the GOP since younger voters tend to be more liberal on social issues, but may lean conservative on size and role of government. Removing Obama from the ballot may help as well. Potential Democratic candidates such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren lack the president’s hipness and youth appeal. In the pre-Obama elections, young voters were more closely divided. George W. Bush even tied the demographic with Al Gore in 2000.

Republicans don’t have to change their principles or write off entire demographics to the Democrats, but neither will these groups simply fall into the GOP camp by default. To win these voters, Republicans must show up, listen to their concerns, and convince them that conservative ideas will make their lives better. Read the rest on Examiner.com

Why the Tea Party fizzled in 2014

2010 was the year of the Tea Party. It seems now that the movement’s impact was a flash in the pan, however. The once mighty grassroots effort flopped in 2012 and continued to slide toward irrelevance in 2014. How did the spontaneous uprising against President Obama’s liberal policies fizzle so quickly, especially since President Obama himself is more unpopular than ever?

In 2010, it seemed that the grass roots conservative movement would shake the nation and upend the Obama Administration. That year saw the Democrats take a “shellacking” as Republicans took control the House of Representatives in a landslide of historic proportions. The Republican class of 2010 included such notable names as Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

In the wake of 2010, many conservatives expected the Tea Party sweep to continue into 2012 and beyond. The Tea Party’s winning streak would end only two years later in 2012, however. That year began for conservatives with high hopes for not only unseating President Obama, but for winning control of the Senate as well. In the final tally, Republicans not only lost the presidential election but two additional Senate seats as well.

While the targeting of Tea Party groups by President Obama’s IRS had an impact on the election, a number of the 2012 losses can be directly attributed to the unforced errors and amateurish campaigns of poorly vetted Tea Party candidates. The names of Christine O’Donnell, Todd Aiken, and Richard Mourdock will live in infamy among conservatives. The roots of the Tea Party’s 2014 losses can be found in these failures of 2012.

The Tea Party’s biggest mistake of the 2014 cycle was pitting itself against the Republican establishment rather than maintaining a focus on unseating Democrats and fielding primary candidates for open seats. In 2014, the highest profile Tea Party candidates were fielded against Republican incumbents, many with sterling conservative voting records. There was Matt Bevin who ran against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, Steve Sterling who tried to unseat John Cornyn in Texas, Milton Wolf who challenged Pat Roberts in Kansas and Chris McDaniel who ran a strong campaign against Thad Cochran in Mississippi. All of these candidates lost in hotly contested races in spite of being heavily supported by Tea Party groups.

These Tea Partiers failed to unseat the incumbent Republicans for largely the same reasons that 2012 Tea Partiers failed against the Democrats. There was poor vetting in the case of Milton Wolf, who, as it was revealed late in the campaign, liked to post graphic x-ray pictures of serious injuries on Facebook and joke about them, and Chris McDaniel, whose talk radio recordings proved a treasure trove of embarrassing comments. There were unforced errors such as Matt Bevin’s appearance at a rally to legalize cockfighting. Steve Stockman, who Christopher Hooks of Politico called “the Lone Star state’s weirdest lawmaker,” ran a campaign that may not have included a single public appearance.

It seems that Republican primary voters have learned to stop casting aside perfectly good candidates for the flavor-of-the-month just because they have an established and successful career in politics. When in a life-or-death struggle with liberal Democrats, experience in Washington can be a good thing. This is especially true when the incumbents have strong conservative voting records as McConnell, Cornyn and Roberts do.

The value of experience may have been driven home to Republican voters in October 2013 with the defund debacle. The attempt to defund Obamacare last year was led by Tea Party favorites Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). The pair browbeat reticent Republicans into falling in line with their plan to defund the Affordable Care Act, which had, in reality, included its own funding.

The flaw in the Cruz-Lee plan was that the Republicans did not hold a Senate majority, let alone one that could override an Obama veto. Compounding their error, the pair made no attempt to swing the support of vulnerable Democrats to their cause. When the Democrats predictably refused to defund their pet project, the Republicans eventually were forced to cave on their demands to prevent a federal default. Because Obamacare was self-funded, it was implemented on schedule even as national parks were closed. To add insult to injury, the government shutdown distracted the media from the story of Obamacare’s disastrous rollout.

Ironically, the biggest Tea Party successes of 2014 had little support from national Tea Party groups. Dave Brat, the insurgent candidate who unseated Eric Cantor in the largest upset of the Republican primary season, was not funded or backed by national Tea Party groups until after he won. Another so-called Tea Party candidate, Ben Sasse, who won the Republican Senate nomination for a vacant seat in Nebraska, was actually supported by both “establishment” and Tea Party Republicans according to The Atlantic. Sasse was the second choice of Tea Party groups and was attacked by FreedomWorks before the group changed its mind and supported him.

Polling by Gallup shows that that in its early days, the Tea Party found strong support among Republicans. Between 2010 and 2014, Tea Party support among Republicans fell by 20 points (to 41 percent) and opponents doubled (to 11 percent).

Among Americans at large, the story is much the same. The Tea Party had the support of about one in three Americans in 2010. Opposition surged ahead of the 2012 elections and again in late 2013 in the wake of the government shutdown. Going into the 2014 election season, Tea Party opponents outnumbered supporters by 27-23 percent according to Gallup. An even larger segment of the population simply does not care about the Tea Party.

The Tea Party fizzled for two reasons. First, the group tried to take on not one, but both, parties with candidates of poor quality. Second, the group faced a backlash because of the poor strategy involved in the attempt to defund Obamacare. The Tea Party alienated its natural consistency in the Republican Party by attacking party stalwarts with the label of “RINO” and nearly killing the party’s chances in 2014 with the government shutdown.

At this point, with only 41 percent approval in the GOP, the Tea Party label is not necessarily helpful to Republicans even among the party base. With only 23 percent approval among voters, it may well be toxic in a general election. Successful Tea Party candidates must follow the Ben Sasse model and appeal to both factions of the GOP.

Nevertheless, the Tea Party is not dead and will likely live on as a faction of the Republican Party. As Michael Tanner pointed out in National Review, the Tea Party is doing what it set out to do even without any of its candidates winning. The Tea Party has forced the Republican Party back to the right after years of Bush-era spending. The knowledge that they will face a Tea Party challenge from the right if they drift too far toward the center will hold the feet of Republican incumbents to the fire for years to come.

Read the full article on Examiner.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chicago gets first RNP approach

Chicago’s O’Hare airport recently implemented its first RNP (required navigation performance) instrument approach. The satellite-based precision approach is part of the new generation of GPS approaches popping up at airports around the nation and the world. Chris Baur, president and CEO of Hughes Aerospace, the company that developed the approach, told Examiner on Wednesday that the new approach is an environmentally friendly alternative to current land-based approaches.

Instrument approaches are the procedures used by pilots to locate the landing runway when the weather precludes a visual approach. At large airports like O’Hare (KORD), the typical method of tracking to the runway involves an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. ILS approaches use land-based transmitters to send signals to the pilots that bring the airplanes to the touchdown point on the runway both laterally (with a localizer) and vertically (with a glideslope). This requires two separate transmitter facilities for each runway that utilizes an ILS. This can be cost-prohibitive for small airports.

RNP approaches utilize satellite navigation technology instead of ground-based navigational facilities. The aircraft’s flight management computer is programmed to fly a predetermined course along a series of waypoints, locations on a map that do not have to coincide with any geographic feature, toward the runway. Because the airplane is following GPS waypoints, approaches can easily be planned to avoid terrain features or noise sensitive areas. They can also be developed over water where land-based facilities are impractical. At some airports, RNP approaches even follow a curved path to the runway using RF (radius to fix) segments, such as this approach at Atlanta’s Peachtree-DeKalb airport (KPDK).

The RNP, required navigation performance of the approach, determines the accuracy of the approach and has an effect on the minimums, how low the pilot can go without seeing the runway. The required navigation performance for approaches can be as low as 0.1. This means that an airplane’s navigational system must be accurate to with 0.1 nautical mile radius 95 percent of the time. This is referred to as performance-based navigation (PBN).

Baur says the new approach has several advantages over traditional ILS approaches. The RNP approach uses GPS satellites so there are no “costly ground based Infrastructure, architectural weakness and repetitive flight inspections” that are required of traditional ILS facilities. This can reduce costs for maintaining the approach.

Ground-based facilities are also subject to interference from local weather conditions. Baur notes that snow from the infamous Chicago winters can accumulate on antennas and cause a degradation of the navigation signals just when accuracy is needed most. “In the event of the loss or degradation of the ILS, traffic flows and arrival rates can be maintained” with RNP approaches, Baur says. This can translate into fewer delayed or canceled flights for airline passengers. Baur also points out that, because RNP approaches are designed with the stabilized approach concept in mind, they will likely result in fewer missed approaches or “go-arounds.”

“Collectively this reduces the overall environmental impact to the airport and surrounding community,” Baur says.

There are some disadvantages to RNP approaches as well. RNP approaches require special pilot and aircraft certification. Baur notes that many, but not all, modern airliners are equipped with avionics that are capable of RNP approaches. Many airlines have already incorporated RNP approaches into their training programs. Many, if not most, private airplanes are not equipped to fly RNP approaches. This means that smaller aircraft flying into smaller, rural airports cannot benefit from RNP approaches where their value could be greatest.

Further, RNP approaches are nearly, but not quite, as accurate as an ILS. An ILS typically has minimums of 200 feet and ½ mile visibility, but can go even lower in some cases. This means that the airplane can descend as low as 200 feet above the ground without making visual contact with the runway. The RNP approach at O’Hare has minimums of 330 feet and ¾ mile visibility. In most cases, the higher minimum will not make a difference, but in a snowstorm or fog, the extra 130 feet might make the difference between landing and going around.

In spite of the drawbacks, Baur feels that RNP and PBN are the future of aviation. “Today most of the major US Airlines and many of the foreign airlines have received authorization for RNP AR [arrival] procedures, as well as many corporate operators,” he says. “I feel RNAV (RNP) as well as RNP AR will continue to grow and provide benefits.  The number of participating operators will also increase with improved access through avionics.”

Hughes Aerospace has already developed RNP approaches in numerous countries around the world. Baur notes that the approaches would be valuable to airports that are concerned with terrain, noise abatement, airspace restrictions or maintaining arrival rates in the event of a disruption of ground-based facilities. They are also an alternative to the high cost of traditional ground-based approach facilities. As technology improves as entry costs for RNP-capable avionics improve, RNP approaches will become more and more common around the world.

Read the full article on Aviation Examiner

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Senate polls are good news for GOP

With just under a month to go until this year’s midterm elections, a number of new polls released this week on Monday and Tuesday, October 12 and 13, bring encouraging news for Republicans. The new round of polling found Republicans leading in the races for six battleground Senate seats. Additionally, one seat where the Democratic incumbent had led slightly in previous polls is now tied and in another a Republican challenger is closing the gap.

In Alaska, polling since the end of August has showed that Republican challenger Dan Sullivan is building a lead against incumbent Democrat Mark Begich. The most recent poll, by Rasmussen, released on Monday, gives Sullivan a three point lead. Other recent polls detailed on Real Clear Politics have Sullivan leading by as much as six points while Begich has not led a nonpartisan poll since July.

Two new polls from Colorado released on Monday both show Democratic Senator Mark Udall trailing Republican Cory Gardner. A Denver Post poll found Gardner with a two point lead while High Point/Survey USA found him leading by four points. The High Point poll is outside the margin of error for the poll. Polling has trended toward Gardner since mid-September according to Real Clear Politics.

In Iowa, the story was similar. Rasmussen polling released on Sunday found that Republican Joni Ernst is solidifying her lead over the Democratic incumbent, Bruce Braley. The three point lead, equal to the poll’s margin of error, may indicate that Ernst is starting to pull away.

In South Dakota, Republican Mike Rounds was considered a shoe-in for the open Senate seat vacated by Sen. Tim Johnson (D). Rounds was handily leading Democrat Rick Weiland before the entrance of independent Larry Pressler into the race. In the three-way race, Rounds still leads by four percent, just above the margin of error, according to a new poll by Harper, a Republican polling firm. Rounds also led by three percent in a Survey USA poll from last week. According to National Review, Pressler shares many policy objectives with Democrats and endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.

In Kansas, where Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is fighting a surprisingly tough battle against another independent, Greg Orman, the most recent poll, by Remington Research, shows Roberts with a two point lead. Roberts’ lead over Orman, who is widely believed to be a closet Democrat, is within the margin of error. Previous polls are split between the two candidates and the race must still be considered a tossup even though the momentum is favoring Roberts.

Recent polling in North Carolina may show a shift in public opinion there. A Survey USA poll released today shows Republican Thom Tillis with a one point lead, the first time that he has led incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan in months. Real Clear Politics shows a slow trend toward Tillis since August.

In New Hampshire, once considered a safe Democrat seat, Republican Scott Brown, a former Massachusetts senator, has pulled to within striking distance of Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. As recently as the end of September, Shaheen held a double-digit lead according to American Research Group. On Monday, two new polls showed that the race is now a dead heat. High Point/Survey USA shows Shaheen with a mere two point lead while New England College showed Brown with a one point lead.

The single bright spot for Democrats is Georgia where Republican David Perdue is trying to preserve a lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn for the open seat of retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss. Perdue has led consistently since early September, but Monday’s WSB-TV poll now shows a 46-46 tie.

In a number of other tossup races there have been no recent polls. Republican candidates are heavily favored to pick up Democratic seats in Montana and West Virginia and hold slight leads in Arkansas and Louisiana. In Kentucky, Republican Mitch McConnell is the slight favorite to retain his seat over Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Also on Monday, a Gallup poll found that voters trust Republicans on seven of 13 election issues. Of the issues most important to voters, five are Republican issues. These include the economy, jobs, the way the federal government is working, ISIS and the budget deficit. Democrats scored highest on handling equal pay for women.

The final scorecard is a likely Republican gain of eight seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. In two more states, North Carolina and New Hampshire, Republican pickups look increasingly possible. There are no clear Democratic pickups although Georgia and Kansas (where Orman would likely caucus with Democrats) must be considered possible. At minimum, a net Republican gain of six to eight seats is likely, which would pass control of the Senate to the GOP. If current trends toward the Republicans continue, it is possible that the GOP would gain as many as ten seats.

Read the full article on Elections Examiner