Will GOP Control of the Senate Hinge on Kansas?

Veteran pollster and political commentator Frank Luntz believes, with all the flipping and flopping of the polls in recent weeks, the fight for control of the U.S. Senate comes down to one state: Kansas.

Incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts is in a fight for his political life against Independent businessman Greg Orman. Orman’s path to victory was cleared after the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the Democrat nominee Chad Taylor could remove his name from the ballot without a party replacement, thus preventing a split Democrat electorate.

With that decision, the mano-y-mano contest between Orman and Roberts immediately swung in favor of Orman with a poll most recently showing him up by as much as 10 points. Though that high margin may be an outlier, it confirms other polls showing Orman’s lead well beyond the margin of error.

Luntz told Sean Hannity in a recent interview,

“It’s up to Republican voters in Kansas to determine whether Barack Obama will have a Democratic Senate. They need to take that to heart.”

Still, Luntz believes that Republicans have the edge in Alaska, Louisiana, and Arkansas with a decent shot in New Hampshire and a likelihood that they will hold Kentucky. Add to that the reality that Colorado and Iowa are very much in play and the picture doesn’t look quite as depressing for Republicans.

Despite the warning, Luntz predicts, the Senate will go 51-49 Republican.