Battle for Senate “could tip either way,” says NPR poll

The fight for the U.S. Senate “remains close and could tip either way,” according to a new bipartisan NPR poll released Friday. NPR’s Mara Liasson wrote the analysis.

The poll, conducted by Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic and Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps, found that “there's no sign yet that a big electoral tsunami is coming, the way it did to help Democrats in 2006 or Republicans in 2010.”

“This poll shows an incredibly stable race, but with emerging evidence to explain why Democratic incumbents and candidates are surprising people and keeping so many red-states very much in play,” said a Democracy Corps statement. “The Democratic candidates have achieved a net positive job performance and a positive approval score 4 points above the President.”

Ayes told NPR: "The direction of the country is overwhelmingly perceived to be in the wrong direction. Barack Obama is exceedingly unpopular in the Senate battlegrounds.

"The generic party preference for a Senate candidate favors the Republicans by three points. So the playing field still tilts strongly to Republicans in these 12 battleground states."

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win control of the Senate. They’re strong favorites to win Democratic-held seats in Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota. Chances are considered decent in several other seats now held by Democrats, including Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, North Carolina, Louisiana, Colorado and New Hampshire. But Republican-held seats in Georgia, Kentucky and Kansas are also in play.