Projected New Senate: 49 Democrats 51 Republicans
News from the Votemaster
Several people asked me for daily House spreadsheets with 435 lines listing who is winning in each of the districts. I put that in www.electoral-vote.com/evp2006/Info/house_seats.zip and it will be updated every day.
There is no presidential election this year, but if you think YOU could be a better president than Hillary and McCain combined, take a look at simcountry.com. It is a very realistic simulation game with you as president.
Poll of the Day
I have asked most of the questions pollsters are asking these days and a few more. While I could invent new questions, as Harold Wilson said: "In politics, a week is a long time" so I will repeat last week's questions. It will be interesting to see if the results are different a week later. I have summarized last week's results below, but vote here right now to avoid being influenced by the vote last week. While this is mostly a fun poll, changes over time are probably real since major changes in the demographics of the readership are unlikely. Please count Bernie Sanders as a Democrat, but Joe Lieberman as an indepedent.
The most interesting Senate poll today is in New Jersey, where Research 2000 has incumbent Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) ahead of state senator Tom Kean, Jr. 48% to 42%. Given how close this race has been, I suspect this is an outlier, as other polls show it much closer.
Another Research 2000 poll shows Missouri to be an exact tie, 47% for incumbent Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) and 47% for state auditor Claire McCaskill (D). This result is very much in line with other polls. One unknown factor here is a ballot initiative that would protect stem cell research in Missouri. McCaskill is for it and Talent is against it. It could bring high-paying jobs to Missouri, but it deeply offends religious conservatives.
The other polls are pretty much in line with previous ones.
Several surprising House polls are available today. In ID-01, Bill Sali (R) and Larry Grant (D) are in a statistical tie. The NRCC is putting money into this race. It is much closer than expected for such a red state as Idaho.
Two polls in IL-06 show Peter Roskam (R) with a slight lead over Iraq war veteran and double amputee Tammy Duckworth (D) in this race to succeed retiring representative Henry Hyde in the Chicago suburbs.
Also surprising is TX-22 , where former representative Nick Lampson is in a statistical tie with "write-in." The trouble for the Republican write-in candidate, dermatologist Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, is that the voters have to write in her name with a track ball on a virtual keyboard with no hyphen. Probably many people will flounder. Also, some people may write in a different name, so the 35% is a bit soft.
Finally, in the surprising news department, incumbent Rep. Barbara Cubin (R-WY), who occupies Dick Cheney's old seat in Congress, is in a surprisingy tough fight with Democrat Gary Trauner. Cubin wasn't helped much when she threatened to slap the Libertarian candidate, who has multiple sclerosis. Having women beat up guys in wheel chairs apparently doesn't fit in with Wyoming's cowboy image.
CQ Politics has released its final roundup for the midterms. They see NJ, MO, TN, and VA as close Senate races, as well as quite a few House races. They think the bottom line is a collision course between the GOPs declining popularity and its strong get-out-the-vote operation.
Pork is usually good for a representative--unless it is radioactive. It is not clear why Jean Schmidt (R-OH), who is in a tough fight with Victoria Wulsin (D) in OH-02, seemed to endorse storing nuclear waste in her district. I don't think this is going to help her campaign much.
Many people have asked me about whether there might be "irregularities" in the vote counting this year, similar to the experiences in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. I am quite sure that if they happen, they will be of a different nature. First of all, both Katherine Harris (R-FL) and Ken Blackwell (R-OH) are candidates (although Blackwell is still SoS) and both are expected to be on the wrong end of landslides.
The three key Senate races that are expected to be very close are in Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri. In all three, the official in charge of elections is the secretary of state (called the secretary of the commonwealth in Virginia). Of course, the governor also has a lot of influence, especially in a close and contested election. So who are the players in these states?
In Tennessee, the governor is Democrat Phil Bredesen and the secretary of state is Democrat Riley Darnell. Bredesen has an especially keen interest in this election since he is up for re-election, against state senator Jim Bryson (R). The most recent poll shows Bredesen leading Bryson by more than 40 percentage points. Darnell was re-elected in 2005 (by the state legislature) and is not on the ballot.
In Virginia, the governor is Democrat Tim Kaine, who was elected last year. The secretary of the commonwealth is an appointed office in Virginia. Kaine appointed Katherine Hanley to the job, a long-time local Democratic politician.
In Missouri, we have a Republican governor, Matt Blunt, son of House majority leader, Roy Blunt (R-MO). However the secretary of state, Robin Carnahan is definitely a Democrat. Furthermore, her brother, Russ Carnahan is the incumbent Democratic congressman in MO-03 and her grandfather, Albert Carnahan. was a 6-term Democratic congressman. Dad, the late Mel Carnahan, was a Democratic governor of Missouri and the first dead man ever elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, after a fatal plane crash during his Senate campaign in Oct. 2000. After his death, the new governor, Roger Wilson (D), appointed Mel Carnahan's widow Jean Carnahan (D), Robin's mom, to the Senate, where she served until defeated by current incumbent Jim Talent (R-MO) in 2002. I doubt that Robin Carnahan will go out of her way to give Talent that little extra edge over Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Here are photos of the players.
Of course, the companies that make the voting equipment are also players, but it is job of the secretary of state to certify the machines.
Last week's EVP polls are at www.electoral-vote.com/evp2006/Info/previous-polls.html One thing that is clear is that while 60% of the readers are Democrats, the number of people who dislike this administration is a lot more than that. Clearly many independents and Republicans are also unhappy.
Projected New House*: 225 Democrats 208 Republicans 2 Ties* Where no independent polls exist, the 2004 election results have been used. See complete House polls.
Dem pickups: AZ-08 FL-13 FL-16 IA-02 IN-02 IN-08 IN-09 NC-08 NC-11 NH-02 NM-01 NY-19 NY-24 NY-25 NY-29 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