Sam Youngman

Sam Youngman: Thumpin' or shellacking? Tuesday looking good for GOP

Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, greets her supporters at the start of the Veterans Day Parade in Madisonville, Ky., Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Grimes is the challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a 30-year incumbent who could ascend to majority leader if he holds his seat and Republicans take control of the Senate.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, greets her supporters at the start of the Veterans Day Parade in Madisonville, Ky., Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. Grimes is the challenger to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a 30-year incumbent who could ascend to majority leader if he holds his seat and Republicans take control of the Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) AP

After President George W. Bush watched Democrats sweep the nation to win control of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2006, he called it a "thumpin'."

When President Barack Obama talked to reporters in the East Room of the White House after the 2010 tsunami that saw Republicans regain the House and Democrats lose ground in the Senate, he called it a "shellacking."

So what colorful description awaits on Tuesday?

New polling over the weekend, in Kentucky's and other key U.S. Senate races, suggests Republicans are headed for a very good night. Whether it qualifies as a thumpin' or a shellacking, though, depends on a few tight races, and maybe even some extra innings.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, a Republican majority is within reach following a final round of polls that show the GOP getting oh-so-close to winning the six seats needed to take over.

In Colorado's Senate race, Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner has an average polling lead of 3.8 percentage points over Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. In Iowa, Republican Joni Ernst is leading Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley by an average of 1.8 percentage points in a race that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called "critical," according to the Huffington Post.

In Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan is leading U.S. Sen. Mark Begich by an average of 2.6 percentage points, and in Arkansas, Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton is leading incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor by an average of 7.1 percentage points.

The two bright spots for Democrats are North Carolina and New Hampshire, but both races are closer than any Democrat would like. In North Carolina, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan is trying to hold off Republican Thom Tillis, and in New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a former governor of the state, is battling former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown.

Ultimately, the two races that could determine whether Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell leads a Republican majority might not be decided on Election Night.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in Louisiana and Georgia, a scenario that looks likely in Louisiana and possible in Georgia, the races will move into runoffs.

If the Louisiana race moves to a runoff, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, would be trailing U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy by an average of 4.6 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.

In Georgia, the latest polling average shows Republican David Perdue getting 46.2 percent of the vote and Democrat Michelle Nunn 44 percent. Libertarian Amanda Swafford is at 3.2 percent.

Of course, to McConnell, crunching all those numbers is an academic exercise if he is shocked in the end by Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Grimes is leaving everything she has on the playing field, hitting at least 16 counties Sunday and Monday after rallying Democrats in Northern Kentucky and Lexington on Saturday with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Her campaign on Sunday released a new web video, titled Momentum, featuring clips of Clinton and Grimes at packed, enthusiastic rallies from the past few days.

Phillip Thompson, Grimes' deputy campaign manager, said in an email Sunday that the campaign remained "confident in the accuracy of our own polling, which for months has shown this race a dead heat."

Thompson said the election "will ultimately be decided by voter enthusiasm in the final days and whoever best turns out their voters, and we have built the largest, most aggressive ground game in Kentucky history."

"On Nov. 4, we're confident the voters will reject Mitch McConnell's 30-year Washington record of failure and enriching himself on the backs of others, and replace him with an independent problem solver like Alison, who will make Washington start working for Kentuckians again," Thompson said.

But two polls released over the weekend paint a very different picture of what Tuesday will bring in the Bluegrass.

On Saturday night, the left-leaning Public Policy Polling group released its final survey showing McConnell ahead 50 percent to 42 percent. And on Sunday morning, the last NBC News/Marist poll showed him leading 50 percent to 41 percent.

Josh Holmes, McConnell's senior adviser, said Sunday that "McConnell and Team Mitch are sprinting all the way to the finish line, and we're not resting until every vote is cast on Tuesday."

On Saturday, McConnell's campaign told reporters the campaign had knocked on more than 1 million doors, including 200,000 during the past two weeks and had racked up 64,500 volunteer hours and made 2.3 million voter contact calls.

"The energy and enthusiasm of Kentuckians who are streaming into our campaign offices across the commonwealth asking how they can help will ensure that Kentucky elects our first Senate majority leader in over 70 years," Holmes said.

While the picture might look bleak for Democrats in the final hours, all of those polls have one common thread: They are not actual votes.

That's where you come in. Whether the 2014 midterm election turns into a thumpin', a shellacking, a whuppin', a throttling or even a night of unexpected elation for Kentucky Democrats, it depends entirely on you.

So get out there and vote Tuesday. Do your part to write the next chapter in our nation's history.

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