Monday, November 06, 2006

Pick a Number, Any Number

So many conflicting polls have been issued in these closing days of the 2006 U.S. midterm elections, that one could go absolutely crazy trying to discern the truth from them. It’s all crystal-balling from here on out. Nonetheless, there are some interesting predictions being bandied about here and there.

Political analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Report is betting on “a 20-35 seat gain for Democrats in the House, a four to six seat gain for Democrats in the Senate, and a six to eight seat gain for Democrats in the governor’s races.” (Remember, Dems need to capture only 15 existing Republican seats in the lower chamber to make Nancy Pelosi the first woman Speaker of the House, and just six seats in the Senate to replace that buffonish Bush lapdog, Bill Frist, with the more able and decisive Harry Reid.) For his part, Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report is forecasting a “Democratic gain of 30-36 seats in the House and 4-7 seats in the Senate.” Meanwhile, Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, puts his money (or at least his prognosticating reputation) down on Democrats winning “more than enough [U.S. House] races to take control (+25 to 33),” and adds that they could “see even larger gains if a large [Democratic] wave crashes even deeply red territory.” As far as the Senate goes, Sabato says he “sees 4, 5 or 6 seats going to the Democrats, resting party control of the Senate squarely on the edge of the butter knife.” Over at The Huffington Post, political activist and blogger Bob Geiger insists he has done the complicated polling math, and he’s ready to call the Senate for the Democrats, who he expects will control 51 seats (compared with the Republicans’ 49) when the 110th Congress is gaveled into session come January 2007.

Republicans who still care to vote in tomorrow’s election--that is, those who haven’t been turned off already by their party’s multiplicity of scandals and George W. Bush’s “stay the course” right off the cliff management of the Iraq war--clutch for hope at a couple of generic polls showing that the race is tightening nationally. (Momentum is with them, they insist.) But as The National Journal’s Hotline blog reminds us, generic polls also tightened significantly in 1994--the year that Republicans won a decisive 54 House seats from the Democrats, along with eight seats in the Senate.

READ MORE:Gallup Says 35-Seat Democratic House Pickup Is ‘Likely,’” by Steve Soto (The Left Coaster); “A Republican’s Take,” by Steve Lombardo (The Hotline); “Can the Democrats Stay Afloat?” by Walter Shapiro (Salon).

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