Tammy_Duckworth_wheelchairDemocrats have a strong chance to take back control of the U.S. Senate in 2016.

In a turnaround from 2014, Democrats are defending only ten seats, while Republicans must defend 24.

Democrats need to defeat only 5 of those 24 Republicans to take back the Senate.

Only two Democrat seats, Colorado and Nevada, are competitive, while Republicans must defend seats in swing states like Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois.

Illinois should be the easiest for Democrats to win.

And that’s why new polls have them stunned.

The liberal Huffington Post reports on this new development:

On Thursday, Duckworth’s campaign fired off a fundraising email to supporters bragging about a new poll showing her leading Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk by four-points.

“Today’s poll is great news, but we can’t take a 4-point lead for granted – we need to build up the resources now to withstand millions in right-wing Super PAC spending,” wrote Duckworth finance director Leah Israel.

Yay!

The poll, commissioned by the left-leaning End Citizens United PAC, surveyed 948 voters between 9/10-14/15 and found that Duckworth leads Kirk 45-41. The survey, conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs, had a margin of error of 3.2 percent.

Typically, when a challenger is besting an incumbent U.S. Senator that is indeed news to trumpet. No doubt.

When the poll reveals, however, that your opponent has regained strength and narrowed the contest, it’s a poll, perhaps, to ignore.

On July 29, Public Policy Polling published the results of a July 20-21 survey of 931 registered voters that showed Duckworth leading Kirk by six-points or 42-36%.

As a combat-wounded, double-amputee, disabled, female, Asian, veteran confined to a wheelchair and running in a majority-Democrat state, Duckworth is both a liberal darling and a heavy favorite to win election to the Senate.

A lead of only four point over Mark Kirk, an unexciting Republican with just 25 percent job approval, is cause for Democrat concern.

Duckworth is currently a member of the U.S. House, defeating incumbent Republican Joe Walsh in 2012 by 10 points.

She is still favored to win, but her inability to build a comfortable lead over an unpopular Republican in a majority Democrat state means she will have to spend millions more than planned to take back the seat, sucking up resources Democrats need elsewhere.