The Latest 2006 Election Projections

In the Senate, things have improved a bit for the GOP, although they’re still looking grim overall.

It looks as if Lincoln Chafee, Rick Santorum, and Mike DeWine are toast. Conrad Burns is still behind, but appears to have some momentum and if enough undecided voters break his way, which is possible in a conservative state like Montana, he has a shot to beat Jon Tester.

Although Jim Talent and Bob Corker still appear to be in toss-up races, Corker and Talent both seem to have some momentum and Talent has a huge cash advantage. Also, George Allen appears to have taken Jim Webb’s best shots and kept on coming. He’s not completely out of the woods yet, but the race is definitely leaning his way.

Also, Michael Steele, Mike Bouchard, and Tom Kean are within striking distance in their races and Steele actually has a cash advantage. Although the odds could fairly be said to be against all three of them right now, all three of them still look like they have a shot to pull off a victory on election day.

So, this makes an estimate for the Senate races a little harder. What’s the super optimistic, best case scenario? The GOP probably loses 1 seat overall as Burns, Talent, Corker win along with 2 out of 3 from Steele, Bouchard, and Kean. In the worst case scenario? The Democrats win 6. The likely scenario? At the moment, I’d still have to say the GOP probably loses 4 seats.

Unfortunately, in the House, things haven’t improved as much. In fact, disturbingly, the number of seats in play seems to have expanded and there are scary polls popping up that show the GOP candidate behind in races that should be 40 or 50 back in competitiveness. That’s really disappointing because the big edge the GOP seems to have isn’t making the sort of impact I’d hoped it had, although we’ll certainly know more next week.

Long story short? There are still probably 8-10 seats that are gone or leaning heavily towards the Democrats. Then, there are probably another 25-30 races or so that could legitimately be called toss-ups right now. So, I’d estimate the GOP would lose somewhere between 18-28 seats in the House if the election were held today. Does that mean the cake is baked and the House is gone? No, but it’s really not looking so great for the GOP in the House right now.

Update #1: I’m not sure that I buy either of these polls, but….

Here’s the key line of a release that I just got from the Santorum campaign:

In Pennsylvania Cong District 10, a new Keystone Poll shows Santorum – 46, Casey – 41. Santorum was down in this poll in August. FYI — Carney 48 – Sherwood 39, Rendell – 53 – Swann 39 in the same poll.

If you look at the RealClearPolitics polling page, this is the first poll that shows Santorum ahead of Casey and there is data going all the way back to Feb. of this year. So, consider me dubious until I see another poll from a more reputable agency that shows him up. Still, cross your fingers and let’s hope this is the start of a trend.

Another poll, from the LA Times/Bloomberg shows James Webb up over George Allen 47% to 44%. Again, I’m not going to believe this unless I see more credible polling because Webb has been consistently down, Allen has more money, and I haven’t seen any reason for Webb to pick-up steam. So, my guess is that this is a margin of error “fluke poll.” We’ll see…

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