Saturday, November 04, 2006

Presumptious Political Prognostication

(WARNING: On a sports chat room that I sometimes participate in, I have a saying: " These picks plus a dollar will get you four (or perhaps three) shiny quarters at your local bank." The same concept applies here.)

The U.S. "off-year" elections for the House and Senate occur next Tuesday. Despite John Kerry's best efforts, it appears that the Democrats will have a profitable election--though how profitable is still in question. My best guesses (and, remember, I am no Scott Elliott (Election Projection) or Scott Rasmussen (pollster of Rasmussen Reports, not that hill-climbing guy in the Tour de France)).

House: Barring a small miracle, Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House next January. Pundits are calling for Democratic gains of 16-40 seats; I expect about 20 or so to go Democratic. This will leave the Democrats with about a 5-10 seat majority--but the Blue Dog Democrats may limit the effect of this majority.

Senate: Control is nip and tuck. I project two independents (Jeffords and Lieberman), both of whom will tend Democratic. If the rest go 50-48 Republican, Vice-President (liberal Democrats would call him Vice Lord) Dick Cheney could break ties if needed. It appears that Democrats will take Pennsylvania, Connecticut and probably Ohio from the Republicans, while Tennessee now appears to be trending Republican. Maryland and New Jersey races feature slight leads for Democrats attempting to keep seats--if either go Republican, the GOP will almost certainly keep the Senate. This leaves three key states: Missouri (where the election may be decided by less than 2000 votes and post-election acrimony is almost guaranteed), Montana (where Conrad Burns is attempting to rise from political death) and Virginia (where George Allen has brought back memories/nightmares of the Bob Dole campaign of 1996). I may be placing too much weight on the impact of Kerry's gaffe this past week, but my prediction is that the Repubs take two of three and effectively have a 51-49 edge in the next Senate.

Governor races: Another clear call for the Democrats; they will gain about half a dozen governorships, giving them the majority.

If you want some early indications of how things MIGHT go; Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire are among the first states to report and they have eight seriously contested House races--four in Indiana (IN 02, 07, 08, 09) and two each in the others (KY 03, 04; NH 01 and 02). All but IN 07 presently are held by Republicans. My projection: if the Democrats end the night with seven or more, expect a 30+ seat House swing and a Democratic majority in the Senate. If the Democrats carry six, the Democrats will gain in the mid to upper 20s in the House and control of the Senate may not be known until all the Missouri lawsuits play out. If the Democrats finish the night with four or five, the House gain will probably be in the upper teens or low 20s and the GOP may keep a tenuous advantage in the Senate. If three or fewer end up Democratic, the best fantasies of Karl Rove where the GOP keep both houses becomes a possibility.


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