Projected New Senate: 50 Democrats 49 Republicans 1 tie
News from the Votemaster
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Poll of the Day
Although we have nine Senate polls today, only one of them is at all surprising. Roanoke College, which has previously not been polling this year, has a poll of the Virginia Senate race in which incumbent Sen. George Allen (R-VA) leads Jim Webb (D) 45% to 42%. Yesterday's polls all put Webb slightly ahead. Statistically, the race is tied.
All the other polls pretty much speak for themselves and confirm well-known results.
On the House side, Zogby has 15 new polls, SurveyUSA has 5 and Research 2000 has 1. Now I have to admit that I made an error in judgment two months ago when I started this year's project. House polls were exceedingly rare then so I wrote the software to just use the most recent House poll (unlike the Senate, where the previous weeks' polls are averaged). It is a bit late now and I hate monkeying with the software so close to the election. I'll fix it for 2008. Sorry. The consequence is, the Zogby polls are slightly newer than the RT Strategies polls I had yesterday (click on "Previous report" above), so they effectively override yesterday's polls.
One very surprising result is AZ-05 , where Harry Mitchell (D) has a tiny lead over incumbent J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ). This has to be worrying for the NRCC. Hayworth won by 22% in 2004 and now he is behind. If an incumbent in such a safe district is in trouble, what's going on in the 350 or so districts where there are no public polls?
In IA-01 , which is an open seat previously held by Jim Nussle (R) who is running for governor and trailing, the Democrat, Bruce Braley has a 7% lead.
In IL-06 , Tammy Duckworth (D), the double amputee Iraq veteran has a 14% lead over lawyer Peter Roskam. That is so much more than she has led before that this poll is probably an outlier.
Both Ohio polls are noteworthy. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) is mostly famous for calling Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), who served in the Marine Corps for 38 years a coward (Schmidt never served). Murtha has returned the favor by campaigning heavily for Schmidt's opponent, Victoria Wulsin (D), a doctor who has spent years in Africa treating Aids patients. Murtha's help seems to be paying off as Wulsin now has a tiny lead. Up until now, Schmidt led. OH-18 is the seat formerly occupied by Bob Ney, who resignd from Congress in disgrace earlier this year. His hand-picked successor, Joy Padgett doesn't seem to be getting much traction as Democrat Zack Space leads her 53% to 33%.
Yesterday's House summary, based largely on the RT Strategies polls, was predicting a Democratic pickup of 36 House seats. Today's summary, based largely on the slightly more recent Zogby polls, is predicting a Democratic pickup of 38 House seats. What should be making NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds wet his pants (besides the fact that he may well lose his own race) is the fact that two different pollsters are both predicting a disaster for the GOP. It is hard to ascribe that to pollster bias or fishy methodology. The much predicted Democratic tidal wave is beginning to become visible. It is not inconceivable that the Democrats could win 40 Republican seats and not lose a single one of their own. A year ago anyone saying the Democrats could even win the 15 seats need to take control of the House would have been declared crazy.
But as Yogi Berra once so famously pointed out: It's ain't over 'til its over. Polling is one thing. Voting is something else. The real key to this election wil be turnout. If Democrats and independents turn out in large numbers, we will get a result similar to the one predicted today. If they don't bother to vote, many endangered Republicans will survive.
SurveyUSA has released a survey of the approval ratings of all 100 senators. The five most popular ones are Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Barack Obama (D-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Tim Johnson (D-SD). All have approval ratings of 70% or more. Snowe and Conrad are up for reelection and both are (naturally) coasting to landslide victories. The five least popular senators are Rick Santorum (R-PA), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Conrad Burns (R-MT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), with Santorum being #100 with a 37% approval rating. Santorum, DeWine, and Burns are all likely to be defeated this year. Menendez will probably just barely hang on. Lautenberg is not up for reelection this year.
As if the war in Iraq was not a big enough problem for the GOP, many members are up to their necks in scandals. Some took money from Jack Abramoff, some beat up their wives or mistresses, some were involved in crooked business deals, and more. The ironic thing is that the NRCC pitch has been to localize the elections. Tell the voters to judge their own congressman on how well he has done his job, rather than making the election a referendum on President Bush. With so many congressmen involved in scandals, that strategy is backfiring. Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. The Washington Post has a good story on these scandals.
Projected New House*: 241 Democrats 193 Republicans 1 Tie* Where no independent polls exist, the 2004 election results have been used. See complete House polls.
Dem pickups: AZ-05 AZ-08 CA-11 CO-04 CO-07 CT-02 CT-04 CT-05 FL-13 FL-16 FL-22 IA-01 IL-06 IL-10 IN-02 IN-08 IN-09 KY-03 KY-04 NC-08 NC-11 NH-02 NM-01 NY-19 NY-20 NY-24 NY-25 NY-29 OH-01 OH-02 OH-15 OH-18 PA-06 PA-07 PA-08 PA-10 TX-22 WI-08
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-- The Votemaster