Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Polls Show Leads For Dems In Senate races

Good news for Dems - A CNN poll shows Democrat James Webb leading Republican Senator George Allen among likely voters in Virginia 50%-46% (confirming two recent polls - Rasmussen and a DSCC poll - that showed Webb taking the lead.)

The CNN polls also show Claire McCaskill with a lead over Republican Senator Jim Talent in Missouri in the registered voter model, 51%-43% (though the race is deadlocked at 49% among likely voters), New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez leading his Republican rival Tom Kean Jr. 51%-44%, and Democrat Sherrod Brown cruising over Republican Senator Mike DeWine in Ohio 54%-43%.

The one bad spot for Dems - CNN finds Republican Bob Corker has a 52%-44% lead over Democrat Harold Ford Jr. among registered voters, though the lead slips to 47%-45% among likely voters.

In a just released Quinnipiac University poll, New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez has a 49%-44% lead over Republican Tom Kean Jr. The Q poll finds 6% undecided and 12% who might change their votes before election day.

A West Chester poll finds Democrat Bob Casey Jr. easily beating Man on Dog Santorum in the Pennsylvania Senate race, 50%-39%.

If Webb knocks Allen off in Virginia, McCaskill beats Talent in Missouri and Menendez holds on to his seat in Jersey, Democrats would seem to have enough to retake power in the Senate 51-49 as Republicans look like they are already losing their Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Montana and Ohio seats.

With 7 days to go, the races are still volatile (especially New Jersey), so nothing is assured here. But with three recent polls showing Jim Webb beating George Allen by 4 or 5 points, I am almost ready to believe Webb can win that race. Allen has thrown everything at him, including releasing excerpts from Webb's military novels that are sexual in nature and claiming they show Webb's sexual perversity and/or misogyny, and still Allen seems to be losing ground in the race. Webb's campaign is running more commercials on the air than Allen's and the DSCC is ready to pump as much money into the race as needed to beat Senator Macacawitz (as Maureen Dowd called Allen last week.) Here's hoping - I can't think of a guy in the current Senate races who's more deserving of defeat than Allen (except for Man on Dog Santorum, but he looks to be done already.)

Of course, Dems must also actually win the other races that are considered shoe-ins, and a recent Rasmussen poll had the Montana race getting closer (Democrat Tester has a 4 point lead on Republican Burns) and the Cook Report did move the Maryland Senate race from Lean Democrat to Toss Up because of the quality campaign Michael Steele is running. And then, there's always that matter of the October/November Surprise changing the election dynamic. Or just that November 7th Diebold Surprise.

Sheesh - seven days to go and the polling numbers just keep coming. But nothing really matters but votes counted and as we saw in the Miami Herald over the weekend, the electronic voting machines are still changing Democratic votes to Republican, so maybe none of this shit matters and that's why Rove, Cheney and Bush are the only people on the GOP side confident about Election Day.

UPDATE: The Cook Report made 12 changes to their House Ratings list - all moved the way of Dems:

AZ-05 Hayworth Lean Republican to Toss Up
CA-11 Pombo Lean Republican to Toss Up
CO-04 Musgrave Lean Republican to Toss Up
CO-05 Open Likely Republican to Lean Republican
IA-01 Open Toss Up to Lean Democratic
KS-02 Ryun Likely Republican to Toss Up
MN-01 Gutknecht Lean Republican to Toss Up
NE-03 Open Likely Republican to Lean Republican
NH-02 Bass Lean Republican to Toss Up
OH-02 Schmidt Lean Republican to Toss Up
WY-AL Cubin Lean Republican to Toss Up
CA-50 Bilbray Likely Republican to Lean Republican

The Cook Report also changed two Governor Ratings - also the way of the Dems:

AK Open Lean Republican to Toss Up
ID Open Lean Republican to Toss Up

Geez, when Dems have shots to win the governor's mansions and/or congressional seats in Red States like Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas and Alaska you know things are looking bad for Repubs. I hope Rove's got a fifty state strategy when it comes to cheating with the Diebold source code - it looks like he's gonna need it.

It seems like both the house and the Senate are going to be tight either way.

What do you really think is going to happen?
The House doesn't look so tight if you listen to the professional prognosticators. Bob Novak predicts Dems take 21 seats. Stu Rothenberg predicts Dems pick up 20-35 seats. Charlie Cook predicts Dems pick up 20-35 seats. Larry Sabato predicts a "Blue Wave" in the House (as many as 40 seats.)

The Senate does look tight - Dems look like tehy will pick up RI, MT, OH, and PA, and they could pick up VA and MO. Will they hold in NJ? Menendez is up in the latest few polls. Will they hold in MD? I have yet to see Steele up in ANY poll. But it will be close.

I think if the election were held today, Dems would pick up 18-21 seats in the House and 5 in the Senate with Missouri coming down to the wire as a possible sixth - but that's today. With the manufactured controversy over Senator Kerry's comments an d all the other good stuff we're bound to hear over the next few days out of Rove central (and you can bet they were watching for a "Kerry gaffe" to use to remind voters of 2004), who knows what will happen in the last week?
I sincerely hope Rove doesn't have that 50-state cheating strategy.

Did you see the article in the Times op-ed the other day about those machines? It said a hacker with a Palm Pilot could break into the machines, and that 20 (?) states use wireless technology in the black boxes.
NYC, I DIDN'T See the story about wireless technology being used in 20 states - that truly is scary.
Don't the Dems need 18 in the House for a majority?

You say 18-21 and that is before they release whatever it is they are going to release in the next week. That sounds tight. Say they win 21 by the vote, then they would only have to flip 4 close races to retain the majority.

Kerry. God, I wish he would just go away. Obviously his comment is not as important as Rove would like it to be, but it sure was a stupid thing to say.
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