In 2008 Democrats took advantage of their emerging strength in the Mountain West to pick up Senate seats in Colorado and New Mexico. In 2012 they'll have a good chance to do it in a couple more- Arizona and Nevada.
Jon Kyl and John Ensign look the weakest in our polling of the Senate Republicans up for reelection in the next cycle. Kyl's approval rating on our Arizona poll this week was 35%, with 39% of voters disapproving of him. Ensign's numbers when we polled Nevada in January were even worse with 44% of voters giving him bad marks to only 38% approving of him. If that's where their numbers are in the middle of a year that's shaping up well for Republicans it's not a positive sign for where they'll be once things inevitably start heading back in the right direction for Democrats sometime over the next two and a half years.
Democrats are having a tough year in the Mountain West this time, with the loss of a Senate seat in Nevada likely and losses of a Senate seat in Colorado and Governor's offices in New Mexico and Colorado certainly possible. But the long term trends in the region are still very much in favor of the Democratic Party, and if things are a little more back to normal by the Presidential election Democrats will have a good chance of continuing to pick off its Senate seats.