Factbox: Senate poll averages by Real Clear Politics

(BestGrowthStock) – Republicans are headed for big gains in the Senate in the November 2 election, but winning a majority will still be a difficult goal, according to poll averages compiled by the website Real Clear Politics.

Republicans must sweep nearly all the competitive races to pick up the 10 seats needed for a majority in the Senate, where Democrats now hold a 59-41 edge.

The polls show Republicans leading in races that could give them a net gain of eight seats, which would leave Democrats with a 51-49 edge. Republicans are close in several other races.

A Republican moved ahead on Tuesday in another state where Democrats thought they would cruise to victory. Republican John Raese has a 2.5 percentage point lead over Democratic Governor Joe Manchin in the West Virginia race to replace the late Robert Byrd

A Reuters/Ipsos poll in Ohio showed on Tuesday Republican Rob Portman with a commanding 13-point lead over Democratic rival Lee Fisher in the Senate race.

In the House of Representatives, the Real Clear Politics averages show Republicans with a slight edge. Republicans lead with 207 seats to 191 for Democrats, with 37 contests considered toss-ups in the battle for a 218-seat majority.

Republicans must pick up 39 Democratic seats to claim House control in November.

Here is a look at the Real Clear Politics poll averages in the most competitive Senate races, with the party currently holding the seat in parenthesis.

* California (Democrat) – Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer leads Republican challenger Carly Fiorina by 6 percentage points.

* Colorado (Democrat) – Republican Ken Buck leads Democratic Senator Michael Bennet by 2 percentage points.

* Connecticut (Democrat) – Democrat Richard Blumenthal leads Republican Linda McMahon by 4 percentage points in a race that is getting tighter.

* Delaware (Democrat) – Democrat Chris Coons leads Republican Christine O’Donnell by 15.7 percentage points.

* Florida (Republican) – Republican Marco Rubio leads independent Charlie Crist by 10.6 percentage points, with Democrat Kendrick Meek trailing.

* Illinois (Democrat) – Republican Mark Kirk leads Democrat Alexi Giannoulias by 1.6 percentage points.

* Kentucky (Republican) – Republican Rand Paul leads Democrat Jack Conway by 5.8 percentage points in a tightening race.

* Missouri (Republican) – Republican Roy Blunt leads Democrat Robin Carnahan by 5.5 percentage points.

* Nevada (Democrat) – Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid leads Republican challenger Sharron Angle by 1 percentage point.

* New Hampshire (Republican) – Republican Kelly Ayotte leads Democrat Paul Hodes by 8.3 percentage points.

* Ohio (Republican) – Republican Rob Portman leads Democrat Lee Fisher by 13.6 percentage points.

* Pennsylvania (Democrat) – Republican Pat Toomey leads Democrat Joe Sestak by 6.5 percentage points.

* Washington (Democrat) – Democratic Senator Patty Murray has widened her lead over Republican Dino Rossi to 5.3 percentage points.

* Wisconsin (Democrat) – Republican challenger Ron Johnson leads Democratic Senator Russ Feingold by 8.4 percentage points.

Republicans also hold commanding leads in three Democratic-held states — Arkansas, Indiana and North Dakota. (Compiled by John Whitesides; Editing by Philip Barbara)

Factbox: Senate poll averages by Real Clear Politics