2006 Election Predictions

On Tuesday of next week, the GOP is going to take a beating. The only question at this point is how bad of a beating it’s going to be. Even though we have less than a week to go before the election, it is — at least to a certain point– an unanswerable question because the story is still being written. More ads are going on the air, there may be October surprises yet to come, and who can say what sort of events or flubs by politicians at the national level may have an impact across the country.

With that in mind, here’s how things are shaping up in the Senate. The Democrats need to capture 6 seats to take over and going into election night, they can be sure that they have half those seats in the bag (* indicates incumbent and (RR) indicates a Rightroots endorsed candidate whom you can donate to here.

Republican Seats Leaning Democratic Takeover

Montana: Conrad Burns* (R) vs. Jon Tester (D)
Ohio: Mike DeWine* (R) vs. Sherrod Brown (D)
Pennsylvania: Rick Santorum* (R) Vs. Bob Casey (D)
Rhode Island: Lincoln Chafee* (R) vs. Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

Conrad Burns’ campaign has been showing some signs of life at the tail end of the campaign and there’s an outside chance that he’ll be able to pull off an upset victory. So, in essence, the Democrats have 3 “gimmie” seats here and one that will probably go their way.

Toss-Ups

Missouri: Jim Talent* vs. Claire McCaskill (D)
New Jersey: Robert Menendez* (D) vs. (RR) Tom Kean (R) (Dem Seat)
Virginia: George Allen* (R) vs. James Webb (D)

Key Seat Leaning Republican Retention

Tennessee: Bob Corker (R) vs. Harold Ford (D)

Chance Of An Upset

Maryland: (RR) Michael Steele (R) vs. Ben Cardin (Dem Seat)
Michigan: Debbie Stabenow* (D) vs. (RR) Mike Bouchard (R)

The Democrats need to win six seats to take control of the Senate and if they win all the seats leaning their way including the Montana seat, they’ll still need to squash Kean, Bouchard and Steele while they simultaneously win both of the Republican toss-up seats. Is that possible? Yes. But, it’s a tall order for them and the odds aren’t in their favor. So, the GOP will probably retain control of the Senate, although it seems likely that we will lose 4-5 seats.

Unfortunately, things are looking even worse for the Republicans in the House although admittedly, because there’s a dearth of reliable polling data, it’s more difficult to tell who’s going to win some of these races. Zogby polls, for instance, tend to be all over the place and Constituent Dynamics/Majority Watch polls tend to lean towards the Democratic candidates by 5-15 points more than other pollsters. Yet, in some races, other than Democratic internal polls and unreliable polls conducted by local colleges or newspapers, polls from Constituent Dynamics/Majority Watch and/or Zogby provided the only recent polling data, which means that there are a lot of guesstimates involved in figuring out who’s winning some of these races. It’s almost like watching every 4th play of a football game without ever being allowed to see the score and trying to figure out who’s ahead or behind. (* indicates incumbent and (RR) indicates a Rightroots endorsed candidate whom you can donate to here).

Republican Seats Leaning Democratic Takeover

AZ-08: Randy Graf (R) vs. Gabrielle Giffords (D)
CT-05: Nancy Johnson* (R) vs. Chris Murphy (D)
FL-13: Vern Buchanan (R) vs. Christine Jennings (D)
IN-2: Chris Chocola* (R) vs. Joe Donnelly (D)
IN-8: John Hostettler* (R) vs. Brad Ellsworth (D)
IN-9: Mike Sodrel* (R) vs. Barron Hill
NC-11: Charles Taylor* (R) vs. Heath Shuler (D)
OH-18: Joy Padgett (R) vs. Zack Space
PA-6: Jim Gerlach* (R) vs. Lois Murphy (D)
PA-7: Curt Weldon* (R) vs. Joe Sestak (D)
PA-10: Don Sherwood* (R) vs. Chris Carney (D)

Republican Held Seats That Are Toss-Ups

CA-11: Richard Pombo* (R) vs. Jerry McNerney (D)
CT-2: Rob Simmons* (R) vs Joe Courtney (D)
CT-4: Chris Shays* (R) vs. Diane Farrell (D)
CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave (R) vs. Angie Paccione (D)
CO-7: (RR) Rick O’Donnell (R) vs. Ed Perlmutter (D)
FL-16:: Joe Negron (R) vs. Tim Mahoney (D)
FL-22: Clay Shaw* (R) vs. Ron Klein (D)
IA-01: (RR) Mike Whalen (R) vs. Bruce Braley (D)
IL-6: (RR) Peter Roskam (R) vs. Tammy Duckworth (D)
KY-03: Anne Northup* (R) vs. John Yarmuth (D)
KY-04: Geoff Davis* (R) vs. Ken Lucas (D)
NH-02: Charlie Bass* (R) vs. Paul Hodes (D)
NY-29: Randy Kuhl* (R) vs. Eric Massa (D)
OH-01: Steve Chabot* (R) vs. John Cranley (D)
NM-1: Heather Wilson* (R) vs. Patricia Madrid (D)
NY-20: John Sweeney* (R) vs. Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
NY-24: (RR) Ray Meier* (R) vs. Michael Arcuri (D)
NY-25: James Walsh* (R) vs. Dan Maffei (D)
OH-15: Deborah Pryce* (R) vs. Mary Jo Kilroy (D)
TX-22: Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R) vs. Nick Lampson (D)
WA-08: Dave Reichert* (R) vs. Darcy Burner (D)
WI-08: (RR) John Gard (R) vs. Steve Kagen (D)
WY-AL: Barbara Cubin* (R) vs. Gary Trauner (D)
VA-02: Thelma Drake* (R) vs. Phil Kellam (D)

Key Competitive Seats Leaning Towards Republican Retention

AZ-01: Rick Renzi* (R) vs. Ellen Simon (D)
AZ-05: JD Hayworth* (R) vs. Harry Mitchell (D)
CA-04: John Doolittle* (R) vs. Charlie Brown (D)
CA-50: Brian Bilbray* (R) vs. Francine Busby (D)
CO-5: Doug Lamborn (R) vs. Jay Fawcett (D)
MN-01: Gil Gutknecht* (R) vs. Tim Walz (D)
MN-06: (RR) Michelle Bachmann (R) vs. Patty Wetterling (D)
NJ-07: Mike Ferguson* (R) vs. Linda Stender (D)
NY-26: Tom Reynolds* (R) vs. Jack Davis (D)
NV-02: Dean Heller (R) vs. Jill Derby (D)
NV-03: Jon Porter* (R) vs. Tessa Hafen (D)
PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick* (R) vs. Patrick Murphy (D)
OH-02: Jean Schmidt* (R) vs. Victoria Wulsin (D)

The GOP’s Best Pick-Up Opportunities:

IL-08: Melissa Bean* (D) vs. (RR) David McSweeney (R)
GA-12: John Barrow* (D) vs. (RR) Max Burns (R)
WV-01: Alan Mollohan* (D) vs.(RR) Chris Wakim (R)

So, going into the election, the Democrats appear to have 11 seats leaning their way. If they pick up all of those seats, then they’ll only need to capture 4 out of 24 toss-ups to take control of the House. We’ve heard a lot about how good the GOP’s GOTV program is and it is good — but, it’s not good enough to pull a victory out under those kind of circumstances. In other words, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks highly likely that the Democrats are going to take back the House. In fact, they’ll probably end up capturing somewhere between 17-25 seats.

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