Federal: The House and The Senate

I've been waiting for Republicans to convince me that this wasn't going to be as bad as I thought it was going to be. I'd like very much to be convinced, but I haven't been. I wish I could be convinced, and I hope I'm wrong, but here are my projections. Small caveat: I wasn't paying attention for awhile in October, so I have significantly less confidence in these projections than I otherwise might.

I don't have much confidence about the nationwide polling that the RNC is touting. There might be some momentum, but I think plenty of it is just natural tightening. I hope I'm wrong. Bob Novak has predicted only a two seat loss in the Senate, including Republican Senate and Governor wins in Maryland. I think he's crazy, but I hope he's right.

But first, from a Republican perspective, there's good news and bad news about tomorrow.

Bad news: 1. I think we're going to lose control of the House and barely lose the Senate, but we have a shot at keeping the Senate.

2. Despite strong economic growth and extremely low unemployment, Americans are not happy. This largely has to do with the war.

3. If I'm right, Democrats will take the House and Senate (barely). If so, that has serious implications for Supreme Court nominees.

Good news: 1. Democrats have no mandate. Was Nancy Pelosi front and center and making news every night? No. Did they run on a cohesive liberal platform? No. (If you think otherwise, can you tell me what it is, aside from just being anti-war?) Are the candidates who will help them win the House mostly to the right of the House Democratic Caucus? Yes.

2. The nation is fundamentally slightly more Republican than Democrat. This is the worst cycle for Republicans since Watergate, and yet we won't lose as much. Why? Becasue the nation only tilts slightly right, and when people aren't happy, then we lose. Like this year. But, all in all, this probably gives us a good shot of keeping the White House in '08 as well as recapturing the House (keeping the Senate? Possibly even tougher than re-capturing the House is my gut call right now). A good deal of Republicans' wounds has been self-inflicted. Winning all the time probably isn't healthy anyway: we certainly had some Congressmen who needed to go. [Note: the Democrats have just about as many who need to go. (See Jefferson, Bill. Cross reference: 100K cash in the freezer.]

Dem pickups:

Ohio: Senator DeWine is a good senator. Unfortunately, Taft has made Republicans unelectable in Ohio this year. Blackwell doesn't help much either. DeWine loses; it's not that close.

PA: Santorum lost this election about two years ago. I refuse to write any more about this election, except to say that I think subconsciously Santorum is ready to start making money.

Rhode Island: In the least Republican of states, can Chafee win? Methinks not. Especially while a Republican guv is winning re-election. I saw Chafee's recent TV ad, and his body language was just way off. He's always been a little awkward and the language was good, but he was grinning and frowning at all the wrong times. Whitehouse edges a product of a famous Rhode Island political dynasty.

Montana: Democrat Jon Tester is the perfect senator for somewhere on the West Coast. He's a terrible senator for Montana. However, Conrad Burns has run a campaign that's not worthy of re-election. So which one wins? Tester is too liberal for Montana, but he's eschewed the spotlight, and run as blandly as possible. Polls have showed Burns bouncing back to even, but I think he loses even in this Republican state.

Tossup: (leans Dem, I just can't quite say it)
Virginia: George Allen hasn't run a good campaign. Jim Webb is not senatorial at all. Neither one deserves to win. So, who loses less? I have no idea. In some ways this race reminds me of VA 94 -- the last time a Democrat was elected to the Senate in Virginia(Chuck Robb -- married to LBJ's daughter -- was a much better Senator than Jim Webb might be). So yeah....I have this in the toss-up, but if I have to predict, I'm predicting that Allen loses. I really, really hope I'm wrong.

Missouri: I like Jim Talent. Claire McCaskill isn't impressive to me as a candidate/campaigner. It's hard for me to imagine Claire McCaskill winning. In any other cycle, she loses to Talent. In this cycle, she probably beats him, unless the 72 Hour Program saves him in this swingiest of swing states.

Democratic hold:
Maryland -- In any other cycle, Republican Michael Steele wins in Democratic Maryland over lackluster Democrat Ben Cardin. Steele's a great candidate and has been forced to endure plenty of racism, but this is a horrible cycle. Maybe he can pull it off, but I highly doubt it.

Republican hold:
Tennessee: In what strange reality is Barack Obama the media's Annointed One (see John McCain, 2000) and not Harold Ford Jr? Harold Ford, Jr., is better looking, more charismatic, and arguably more articulate. Ford's also not reflexively liberal like Barack Obama. Unfortunately for Ford, he lives in Tennessee and Obama lives in Illinois. And that's why Ford is going to lose tomorrow.

Despite Democrats' claims of race-baiting (um, hello, Maryland?), this race bears lots and lots of similarities to the Senate campaigns in neighboring states in both 02 and 04. 02 and 04 each had races in North Carolina and South Carolina which featured late breaking Republicans in open seats. The Republicans won all of those races, and despite the breeze blowing in Corker's face, he'll edge out Ford. Ford ran a great race, but had a couple of gaffes in the end that cost him his chance.

That leaves us 51-49 Dem. Ouch. I really thought the Senate would be 50-50, and honestly I still think there's a decent chance that one of the GOP candidates will pull through. I guess it'd have to be Talent, Allen or Burns, in descending order of probability. Maybe Steele. Maybe even Chafee...Rhode Island is kinda odd that way.

I don't think any of the other races are worth me writing about: Michigan, Washington, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey.

Every cycle since 2000, I've picked one Senate race wrong. I really hope I picked one wrong, and that it isn't Corker/Ford. I hope it's Talent or Allen.

Party switchers? I doubt it. Lieberman isn't going to even think about switching to the GOP unless the GOP offers him the chance to chair a committee and the Democrats don't. But why would the Democrats deny Lieberman the chair of a committee if that would risk loss of organizational control? Would Chafee switch if he were re-elected and it was 50-50? My gut says no. If the man has any personal decency (and I think he prides himself on it), he would feel compelled to stay a Republican organizationally for at least 2 years, even if he voted straight-line Democrat otherwise.

Ugh. Do I really have to say this? Democrats pick up 28 seats the way I see it. That would leave them with 231 seats, and the GOP with 204. Maybe I'm being slightly pessimistic here. It could be 26.

I'm not going to go into detail, but I think Dems definitely will be over 25 governor mansions on Wednesday. In fact, I'd project that they win 7. Maybe 8, or even 9.

[Note: I may keep tinkering with this through the night.]

UPDATE: Yes, I know no one else is predicting that Dems will take the Senate. What can I say? I'm a captive of my deduction skills.

Posted by Evan @ 11/06/06 11:28 PM


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Read the Pew Poll,

If you are a Democrat, its about as bad news as you could get net to Hillary switching parties

Posted by EricPWJohnson @ 11/07/06 04:00 AM

I've read it.

Would you like to bet money on who is right? ;)

Posted by evan @ 11/07/06 08:27 AM

Your google ads seem to agree with your assessment of "media darlings." Of all the names you've mentioned on this page, their respective websites are the ones showing up in ad sense. I'm not completely sure how that works, but I'm assuming google takes into consideration the content of your page then guesses from that what popular items people will click on.

Just thought that was interesting.

Posted by Rick Santorum @ 11/07/06 01:41 PM

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