Democrats' Connecticut, Illinois Woes Could Open 2010 Senate Seats to Republicans

Polls show voters could lean Republican in Illinois and Connecticut races.

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By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

For the Republicans, who are just two senators away from being almost wholly irrelevant, there is some good news on the horizon. Things are looking up for 2010.

In Illinois, says pollster Scott Rasmussen, 62 percent of the voters think Sen. Roland Burris, the Democrat appointed to take the place of Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate, should resign, while just 24 percent believe he should remain in the Senate.

Rasmussen says that 54 percent of those surveyed said they would "definitely vote against Burris if he chooses to run for a full six-year term in the Senate in 2010." Only 4 percent, he adds, said they would definitely vote for him.

More than a third, 39 percent, said whether or not they would vote for Burris' re-election would depend "upon who he is running against." And what makes this significant is that 67 percent of those surveyed approve of Obama's performance as president.

Meanwhile, over in Connecticut, the polls show longtime Sen. Chris Dodd, a lion of the Senate, may also be headed for defeat. A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows Dodd's statewide approval rating "at an all-time low of 33 percent," with 63 percent of the more than 1,800 registered voters surveyed indicating their belief Dodd "has overstayed his welcome as their senator."

The Quinnipiac survey showed Dodd losing to all three of his likely, and little-known, Republican challengers.

"Dodd would lose to former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, 50 percent to 34 percent," the Stamford Advocate's analysis of the poll reported, "state Sen. Sam Caligiuri, R-Waterbury, 41 percent to 37 percent, and Tom Foley of Greenwich, a former ambassador, 43 percent to 35 percent." And, to make matters worse, the Connecticut Post headlined Thursday that "only five state residents" had contributed to Dodd's re-election campaign coffers. "The five-term incumbent reported raising just $4,250 from five Connecticut residents during the first three months of the year while raking in $604,745 from nearly 400 individuals living outside the state."

This is good news for the Republicans because every seat counts in the race to keep the Democrats from getting to 60 votes and ending the GOP's ability to engage in a partisan filibuster. And in an environment where the Democrats have to defend seats in Illinois and Connecticut that should not even be in play, we could be heading to a jump ball.

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