05 November 2006

Election predictions, part 3

Here is part 3 of my election prediction series.

House of Representatives

Currently, Republicans hold 232 seats; Democrats 202 seats, and 1 independent. Democrats need to win 15 seats to gain control of the House of Representatives (the independent is Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats; his seat is expected to be won by a Democrat and thus the independent counts for them).

Right now I see the Democrats picking up a minimum of 10 seats and possibly as many as 24. I don't think it could go much higher than that.

It was widely suspected that Democrat incumbents would not lose any seats, but it appears at least in the realm of realistic possibility that one or two could lose. If any do, it would most likely be Marshall (GA-8) or Barrow (GA-12).

Senate

It was once thought that the Democrats had a reasonable chance to take over the Senate, but with the latest polls I see that being a straight uphill battle. Currently there are 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and 1 independent (again, read Democrat for caucus purposes). Democrats need to win six seats to win, which would put them over the top, 51-49. A 50-50 tie would leave the Republicans in the majority because the Vice President would break ties.

The incumbent Republican Senators most likely to lose are (unfortunately) Rick Santorum (PA) and Mike DeWine (OH). Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island is probably also in this camp, although one recent poll had the race a toss up.

Jim Talent in Missouri, Conrad Burns in Montana, and George Allen in Virginia are all in races I would call dead heats. They really could go either way. Neither candidates have significant momentum leaving the weekend.

Democrats need all six of these races to win the Senate. However, they also need to hold onto Maryland, where Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) is running a spirited campaign against Democrat Ben Cardin. Into the final stretch this race is now a toss up with many expecting Steele to pull it out.

Bob Corker is running for Bill Frist's seat in Tennessee against Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. in a race that has been close all season, but Corker has opened up a significant lead in the final two weeks. Finally, Republicans expect to hold onto Jon Kyl's seat in Arizona.

Final predictions

House of Representatives: Democrats 223, Republicans 212

Senate: Republicans 51, Democrats 49 (47+2 independents)
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