The final Senate polls are out and Democrats look to be on the ropes going into Tuesday's election. Republicans, of course, need a net pickup of six seats and it looks like they are closer to getting just that. They may even get one or two more. A poll or two can be wrong; seldom are they all wrong all at once. Nonetheless, many of the polls are close and there are last minute factors that can change things.

The most notable fly in the ointment for the GOP and the deus ex machina for the Democrats is the vaunted voter identification and turnout operation that the Democrats are known for. Polls show that more Republican likely voters are enthusiastic about voting than Democratic likely voters. But the polls also show that there are simply more Democrats than Republicans. So call that one equal. Hence, the polls are showing close races. Independents are sending us clear messages that they are leaning Republican but are mainly fed up with both parties and pretty much everything. Independents, it appears, will be the only Americans relieved when television returns to advertising by used car and furniture businesses.

It has been very clear for months that this election and the final two years of the Obama administration will turn on the health of the Obama coalition. If the Democrats can bring young people and non-whites out to vote, not necessarily in numbers that match their turnouts in 2008 and 2012 but at least in higher numbers than 2010, they can hold on to the Senate. Even in 2010, when turnouts nationwide of these essential groups in the Democratic coalition were down considerably, efforts to increase their presence in the polls in some states actually made a difference. Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado was behind in just about every pre-election statewide poll before the election, but an over 70% turnout of Hispanics and over 80% support from them put him over the top. The same kind of Hispanic turnouts and support were critical in the victories of Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Boxer of California.

Early voting seems to suggest that the Democrats have some reason to hope for better returns than the polls indicate. As I write this, African American turnout thus far in both Georgia and North Carolina is higher than normal. That clearly boosts the chances of North Carolina's Senator Kay Hagan and Georgia's Michelle Nunn. Early voting returns in Iowa and Colorado indicate a significantly higher turnout among voters who did not vote in 2010, suggesting that many of those are younger and non-white. On the flip side, however, the latest round of polls in Iowa show Republican Joni Ernst with a 7 point lead over Democrat Bruce Braley, while the latest in Colorado has Republican Cory Gardner now leading incumbent Senator Mark Udall by 4 points. If those polls are right, then even a superb Democratic voter turnout machine is at a great disadvantage. (For the record: Ann Seltzer conducts the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register. Her record is spotless but some experts are scratching their heads at her latest poll showing Ernst leading 51% to 44%. But Ann is a very good pollster and the "experts" are nothing without good pollsters.)

I won't make predictions. If the Democrats have this superior turnout machine, it better be very good on Tuesday. Very very good.

A final note about this campaign. Voters want problem-solving and consensus-building. But they also want authenticity. How can Democrats run against (or at least deny) their own party leader - the President of the United States - and think they can win? This is very curious especially when he and his First Lady are the only people who can rally the party's base? The GOP has been at least true to itself by saying "we are not Obama", but offering little else. History will probably be kind to Mr. Obama for turning an economy around, ending two wars, making huge strides for equal pay for women, and advancing the rights of gay Americans. The message of income inequality was a good one and got drowned out when Democratic campaigners decided to reject their most effective messenger.