"With the advent of this election year, the time to turn from generalities/playing field pieces to tracking specific races is fast approaching. But before picking up my series on competitive Senate races (I wrote on three with relatively well-formed dynamics last year: Kentucky, Montana, and Arkansas), I do have a few more things to say about the playing field.
As a general matter, the journalistic narrative hasn’t yet caught up with the deterioration of the Democrats’ political standing since the early summer. Polls showing tight Senate races in New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Michigan are met with surprise and disbelief. But they are exactly what we’d expect to see given the president’s national job approval rating. I think they’re accurate barometers of the state of the races."
Trende's post has a full set of graphs and qualifiers that support the notion that "if" Obama's approval ratings remain below 50% and Republicans play their cards right, control of the Senate is within their grasp. President Obama's current RCP job approval stands at 42.9%, not an attractive number for his party or the incumbents who will try to hang on to their jobs in 2014.