Tuesday, October 31, 2006

House and Senate Outlook (7 Days Out...)

wapo-congressionalcountdown-061031.jpgIt's been a couple of days since I've posted one of these, but I've been caught up in a special freelance project that's completely taken over my time (and hence, my posting confined to the wee morning hours). But things are slowly moving to the Democratic side, as noted by the WaPo's Congressional Countdown (and Chris Cillizza's The Fix blog). Since last we posted, one seat in the House and the Senate has been moved over to the Leans Dem column, with the latter attributed to movement in New Jersey:
On the Senate side, we are moving the New Jersey race from "Toss Up" to "Leans Democrat." Public polling of late shows Sen. Bob Menendez (D) with a small but measurable edge over state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). Menendez is a flawed candidate, but Democrats believe he is beginning to salt this race away. Republicans argue that now that they are matching Menendez and Democrats on television Kean's numbers will rebound. That could be the case so we'll revisit before the week is out. But for now, this race leans toward the appointed incumbent.
Daily Kos offers up some polling to support that. And it's looking like Virginia might be moving to the Dem's side soon if polling released yesterday is any indication of the toothless attacks by the Lynne Cheney attack dog. Josh Marshall sums it up:
Two polls came out today showing Webb ahead. One was a poll sponsored by Democrats that had Webb up 47% to 43%. This evening though CNN released a poll with a similar spread -- Webb 50%, Allen 46%. On top of that, another public poll is soon to be released which shows Webb ahead by a comparable margin.
It seems clear that there's movement in Webb's direction. And it seems to have shown up after the novel extracts imbroglio hit the airwaves. I'm not sure we can draw a correlation between the two things. Numbers can move rapidly in the last couple weeks of a campaign as the undecideds start to come off the fence and people finally start to tune into the races. But it at least suggests the book quotes haven't hurt him.

Webb may actually pull this off.
Here's Webb's last ad, and it's a positive message:

And in Minnesota's first district (down in the south, which encompasses Rochester), the race between incumbent Gil Gutknecht and Dem challenger Tim Walz has been downgraded from Leans Republican to Toss Up by the venerable Cook Report (as noted by Daily Kos). For more on this race (as well as the race with Keith Ellison, who could be the first Muslim congressman), check out the free article from the Wall Street Journal.

Again, this is all good news... but we can't let this go to our heads, as FotF Tim Coghill (from his newly reenergized blog) double dares us:
On Wednesday, Nov. 8, it would not shock me to hear that the Dems have, in fact, not won either house of Congress. (Of course, this could easily be attributed to voter fraud on the part of Diebold, but I digress.) If this happens, I will be absolutely apopleptic in my rage toward complacency among Democratic voters. Democrats fall in love, but Republicans fall in line. It remains to be seen whether Democrats on election day act beyond their love of the notion of controlling Congress and actually vote. I'm not so sure, and I think the Republican machine is counting on it. One thing I can promise is that Republicans will. Like I said, they fall in line. Even if they're plugging their noses doing so, they'll march rank-and-file to their polling places and vote to send GOP candidates back to D.C. I guarantee it.

Go ahead, Dems, prove me wrong. I'm calling your bluff.

(hat tip to Tim for the image)


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