Thursday, October 9, 2008


Democrats Expected to Sweep Close Races in Congress

But the economic storm has sent the doodoo flying not only in the direction of McCain, but also in the direction of NRSC chairman Sen. John Ensign (R-NV). The chairman of the DSCC, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), is now openly talking about getting close to 60 seats in the Senate, which would allow the Democrats to invoke cloture and pass legislation with the Republicans powerless to block it. While Schumer is quite good at counting (not to mention raising money), this is the first time he has dared talk so freely about getting 60 seats. In 2006, Schumer managed to pick up six seats (and control of the Senate) when nobody in his right mind thought that was possible. Among Republican insiders, holding their loss to five seats (New Hampshire, Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, and Alaska) would be considered a huge victory. Now they are worried about losing Oregon, Minnesota, North Carolina, Mississippi-B, Georgia, and Kentucky as well. They see the handwriting on the wall and it appears to say: "Armageddon." CNN also has a story on the Senate.

Analyst Stu Rothenberg, who is not generally given to great enthusiasm for the Democrats, is now also talking about the possibility of close to 60 Senate seats for the Democrats. Furthermore, he is now predicting the Democrats will pick up at least 20-30 seats in the House, maybe even eclipsing their 31-seat pickup in 2006. He concludes with: "Republicans appear to be heading into a disastrous election that will usher in a very bleak period for the party." Our tally (on top of the page) is now a 247 to 187 breakdown (with 1 tie), but the reality is much worse for the Republicans because many close races that are probably going to go Democratic have not been polled. Our algorithm assumes that in the absence of any polling data, the incumbent party wins. While normally that is true 90% of the time, this year it may not be, especially due to the open seat issue. There are 47 seats in which the 2006 winner is not running. Ten of these were occupied by Democrats and nearly all of them are in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. The other 37 are occupied by Republicans and many of these are in swing districts. Here is the full list.

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