Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 49 Republicans 1 tie
News from the Votemaster
I have added a new feature starting today: a list of House districts that the polls say might flip from one party to the other. The list is at the bottom of the page, just under the projected House totals.
Only two new Senate polls today. In Washington, incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell's lead over insurance CEO Mike McGavick has dropped a bit to 51% to 43%, but she is in no real danger. And in New York, Hillary is romping to victory, 59% to 32%. The only interesting question there is whether her victory will be bigger or smaller than Eliot Spitzer's, the Democratic candidate for governor.
The House is a (race) horse of a different color. SurveyUSA has just released polls in four states showing major gains by the Democratic candidates. In AZ-05, which hadn't even been close until now, Harry Mitchell (D) is in a statistical tie with incumbent J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) in this district around Scottsdale and Tempe.
CA-50 is kind of a special case. There was a special election in June to fill the seat of disgraced Republican incumbent Randy Cunningham who was sentenced to federal prison in March for bribery and other charges. Francine Busby (D) and Brian Bilbray (R) battled each other and Bilbray won 49% to 45%. Now they are having a rematch for a full term. Many people thought that Busby ran a poor campaign and was finished, but SurveyUSA's poll shows it is a statistical tie, with Bilbray leading 50% to 46%. If the gathering Democratic tidal wave is strong enough, Busby might just make it.
Another woman who is doing surprisingly well is Patricia Madrid (D), the New Mexico attorney general. running for Congress in NM-01. She has a substantial lead over incumbent Heather Wilson (R-NM), 53% to 45%. This is the second poll showing her with this kind of lead. Wilson's days in Congress may be numbered.
Finally, in MN-02, whistleblower Colleen Rowley (D) is gaining on incumbent Rep. John Kline (R-MN), but she is still behind. He leads 50% to 42%.
I used to be a Boy Scout. Their motto is "Be prepared" (also the title of a song by Tom Lehrer). So while everyone else is sweating the 2006 election, I'm sweating the 2008 election. Below is a table showing the class II senators, all of whom are up for reelection in 2008. The first thing you will note is that the Republicans have 21 seats to defend and the Democrats have 12 seats to defend. All things considered, the Republicans have a lot more at stake in 2008.
But while all Senate races are equal, some Senate races are more equal. Senators who won by 60% or more last time will probably breeze to reelection--assuming they can keep their hands and keyboards off the Senate pages. Senators who won by less than 60% could be vulnerable if the other guys can come up with good candidates. Six Democrats fall into that category (Biden, Harkin, Johnson, Landrieu, Lautenberg, and Pryor). Twelve Republicans might be vulnerable (Alexander, Allard, Chambliss, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Dole, Graham, Inhofe, Sessions, Smith, and Sununu). Any way you cut it, the Democrats have an excellent chance to pick up Senate seats in 2008 just due to more vulnerable Republicans up for reelection.
Age can play a role, too, but the old codgers don't always give up. Depends if they like the work. Robert Byrd (D-WV) is 89 now and running for his 9th term, which he is virtually certain of winning. He has served longer in the Senate than any senator in history and clearly loves his job. He has come a long way in his 48 years in the Senate, from being a member of the Ku Klux Klan to getting a 100% rating from the NAACP. He hates the direction the country is going and wants to make a difference. He'll probably die on the floor of the Senate.
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will be 84 in 2008 and didn't even want to serve this term. He was Shanghaied into the job when Bob Torricelli melted down in 2002. He might decide that enough is enough in 2008.
John Warner (R-VA) will be 81 in 2008. There is a fair chance he'll call it quits, too. But Warner has a lot of respect and might go on, He recently announced that the war in Iraq is going badly and we need to change policy.
Ted Stevens (R-AK) will be 85 in 2008. He may toss in the towel as well. He is most famous for fighting furiously for $230 million to build a bridge from nowhere to nowhere in Alaska. He became such a laughingstock and symbol of pork gone wild that even exceedingly conservative senators from his own party opposed him.
Many people have asked me why I always color Connecticut blue rather than green. The answer is that Joe Lieberman has repeatedly said that he will caucus with the Democrats if elected. he said it again yesterday. While Joe is a hawk on Iraq, compared to all the Republicans in the Senate, he is an ultraliberal. Look at his ratings. If he jumped ship they would praise him mightily for a week and then ignore him and go back to banning gay marriage. He's been in the Senate for 18 years. He knows how the game is played. Of course, he hasn't won yet, either. There was a TV debate in CT yesterday and Lieberman was the center of attention, with Ned Lamont accusing him of being a conservative and Alan Schlesinger accusing him of being a liberal.
Projected New House*: 226 Democrats 205 Republicans 4 Ties* Where no independent polls exist, the 2004 election results have been used. See complete House polls.
Dem pickups: AZ-01 AZ-08 CT-04 FL-13 FL-16 IA-02 IN-02 IN-08 IN-09 MN-06 NC-08 NC-11 NM-01 NY-24 NY-26 OH-02 OH-15 OH-18 PA-06 PA-07 PA-10 TX-22 WI-08
See the details of the Senate and House races with photos, maps, links, polls, etc.
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-- The Votemaster