WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The balance of power is expected to remain the same in the U.S. Senate following Tuesday’s election, polling indicates.
The Senate is unlikely to change hands even though Democrats are defending twice as many seats as Republicans, The Hill reported Tuesday.
Internal polling shows GOP candidates doing better than public polls do but self-inflicted wounds by GOP candidates may spell disaster for any hope of Republicans gaining control of the upper chamber.
Democrats hold 51 seats and are joined by two independent in their caucus in the current Congress. Republicans control 47 seats.
Democrats are likely to win an open seat in Maine and are favored to pick up seats in Massachusetts and Indiana, public polls have indicated.
If Democrats win those three seats, Republicans would need to pick up six other seats if President Obama is re-elected and five seats if Mitt Romney wins the presidency.
In Missouri, GOP U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is behind incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, by more than 6 points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. His “legitimate rape” comments triggered a national backlash that led GOP leaders to ask him to back out of the race which he refused to do.
Three of the closest Senate races, polls indicate, are in Montana, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson lost his lead in the polls over Democrat U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin because of early stumbles.
In Montana, Democrat Sen. Jon Tester has been neck-and-neck with GOP challenger Rep. Denny Rehberg. The RealClearPolitics poll average for the state has Rehberg leading by 0.4 percent.
The race is Nevada is also down to the wire with Republican Dean Heller leading Democrat Shelley Berkley in the RealClearPolitics poll average. However polls in Nevada are notoriously inaccurate.