Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Too Close?

[Ez: This is a rambling, boring political post. I know most of y'all hate that, so feel free to skip down. :) ]

I really like this graphic from the Wall Street Journal which shows the breakdown of the Senate as next week's elections come closer. It's clear, concise, and shows how it got its information.

To start, two-thirds of the Senate are not up for re-election. Of these 67 seats, the GOP has 40 and the Democrats have 27. In the next category are expected seats: The GOP is expected to win seven, the Democrats eleven. This brings the totals to 47-38 in favor of the GOP. Add in the two independents (Joe Lieberman and Vermont's Bernie Sanders) who will lean Democrat, and it's 47-40. [Question: Do these two count when determining the majority leader? If it's 49-49, can the Democrats appoint the majority leader? What if it's 50-48 GOP - is that a tie, or a GOP hold? Or does it go to Cheney? Anybody know the rules?]

Next, the WSJ lists "leaning" seats. Of these seats, it is currently 5-1 Democrats. Looking quickly at the seats and the current leads, it's easy to see why they didn't make it outright wins - but it's pretty clear that they will in fact go the way they say, making it 48-45 if you include the independents. That leaves seven tossup seats. RealClearPolitics' site calls two of those seven "leaning Democrat" and leaves just five "tossup" seats.

Those five seats are Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia. As of now, I think the GOP will win Tennessee and Missouri [in a nail-biter], lose Montana and New Jersey, and that the GOP will need George Allen to hold off in Virginia to keep 51 seats. I actually feel that Kean has a shot in New Jersey if he could just get out and explain his stance on issues, particularly the economy - I heard him speak about three weeks ago for less than ten minutes to a small group, and he was excellent. But for some reason, those points don't seem to be what his ads have focused on, and he's not picking up enough ground, though he's picked up a bit.

I think the best-case scenario for the Democrats is to get up to 49 seats of their own plus the two independents against 49 GOP seats. More likely, it's going to be 51-47 GOP excluding the two. It could even be higher for the GOP - I'll reassess in a couple of days. The real question, however, will be the House.

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