Election day is approaching quickly, and voters are increasingly anxious about who will control not only executive power after the election, but also the legislative branch. While the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is less competitive (Clinton holds a five point lead), Senate control could come down to only a few key states.

Missouri is one of these key states, and this is a result of charismatic Democratic candidate Jason Kander. Earlier this fall, Kander released an attention grabbing ad, featuring his artillery skills and military background. Unusual for a Democrat, the ad gained traction nationwide, and Kander’s poll numbers subsequently soared. Since then Kander has remained a contender in a usually conservative state, causing unexpected frustration for his Republican rival Senator Roy Blunt.

This is not an uncommon story in the 2016 election cycle. Along with Missouri, other states such as North Carolina and Indiana now involve Senate races which were previously considered more Republican, and now are competitive. Although this is a nationwide trend, each case seems to be independent, with unique state characteristics coming into play for the changes in each race.

As an example, Missouri is now being explained as a state that prefers Republicans at the top of the ticket, but is more open to Democrats in lower ballot races. Currently, Blunt leads by only one point, in contrast to the 4.8 lead he held only a month ago. Going forward into the last few weeks before the election, Missouri is now considered a toss up race. 

Many are blaming some of these slips not only on independent state factors, but also on Trump’s October slump. As scandals and unique debate performances have impacted the Republican nominee’s poll numbers, there is a possibility that this negativity could trickle down toward lower ballot senate races.

Ultimately, the Senate is predicted to be won through six key state races. These include traditional swing states Pennsylvania, Nevada and New Hampshire. Beyond these states, three formerly securely red states Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana are also included in crucial races. Note, that there are no traditionally blue states now listed as crucial toss-ups. This senate race scenario is part of an increasingly dim looking future for Republicans coming November 8th.

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