WASHINGTON (AFP) – Republicans appear increasingly likely to win back the US Senate in November 4 mid-term elections, a move that would heap misery on President Barack Obama in his final two years in office.
The more conservative of the main American parties already controls the House of Representatives, and no one seriously predicts Democrats will retake it this year.
Republicans are capitalising on stubbornly persistent frustration with Obama and his policies, particularly in battleground states Democrats must successfully defend if they want to hold the Senate.
Despite polls showing Democratic gains in some rollercoaster races, the math favors Republicans in their bid to win the six net seats they need to control the Senate.
“It’s not going to be a wave election, but it will bring a majority for the Republicans,” predicted American University professor James Thurber, who founded and directs the school’s Centre for Congressional and Presidential Studies.
Forecast models by FiveThirtyEight blog and The New York Times say Republicans are between 62 percent and 64 percent favorites to seize the Senate majority. The Washington Post’s Election Lab puts Republican chances at 91 percent.
In one of several signs the GOP is tightening its election grip, the University of Virginia’s Centre for Politics on Thursday shifted the key Arkansas Senate race from “leans Republican” to “likely Republican.”