Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close To Taking Senate

Two races, where Democrats have led all along, Montana and Maryland, are tightening. Two races that were close for a while, New Jersey and Rhode Island, are now moving out of Republican reach. Two races where Democrats have typically been slightly behind, Missouri and Virginia, are now showing Democratic leads. Entering the final weekend, here is the complete Senate polling picture, via Pollster.com's five-poll averages.

Looking good:
  • PA: Casey (D) 51.4%--40.2% Santorum (R)
  • OH: Brown (D) 52.6%--42.0% DeWine (R)
  • MI: Stabenow (D) 50.4%--40.2% Bouchard (R)
  • WA: Cantwell (D) 52.4%--42.6% McGavick (R)
  • RI: Whitehouse (D) 48.2%--40.2% Chafee (R)
  • MD: Cardin (D) 51.0%--43.8% Steele (R)
  • NJ: Menendez (D) 48.2%--42.2% Kean (R)
Looking close, but good:
  • MT: Tester (D) 48.2%--45.0% Burns (R)
  • VA: Webb (D) 47.0%--45.8% Allen (R)
  • MO: McCaskill (D) 47.8%--46.8% Talent (R)
Not looking good:
  • TN: Corker (R) 49.2%--46.0% Ford (D)
  • AZ: Kyl (R) 49.2%--41.0% Pederson (D)
  • CT: Lieberman (CfL) 48.4%--38.8% Lamont (D)
The first tier gives us a baseline of a three-seat pickup, all of which look pretty solid right now. The second group is where we can win the Senate, with both Virginia and Missouri trending our way, and every poll still showing Tester hanging on in Montana. I am expecting undecideds to break our way in most of those ten races.

It may be a surprise to some that I include Tennessee in the bottom three seats, but right now that campaign seems to be moving in the opposite direction of Connecticut and Arizona. I expect Connecticut and Arizona to both get noticeably closer, both because of polling trends and as Pederson and Lamont scoop up undecideds. Ford's campaign seems to be moving in the opposite direction, and I am expecting the undecideds in that race to break for Corker. I actually wouldn't be surprised if both Pederson and Lamont outperform Ford. Later today, as I begin rolling updates to the House and senate forecast, Montana will be downgraded to "toss-up," and Tennessee will be downgraded to "lean Republican." Arizona could very well be upgraded to "lean Republican," but I haven't quite decided yet. Washington and Michigan will be placed back on the board as "likely Democratic."

Overall, I still think a five-seat gain for Democrats is the best bet right now, and taking control of the chamber has clearly become a possibility. Right now, polling shows us ready to take "control" to the tune of 49-49-2, and our momentum is generally quite good. Further, both the Incumbent Rule and the "blowing breeze" theory suggest we have additional advantages on top of our small leads in Montana, Missouri and Virginia. I think this suggests Democrats have about a 35-40% chance of taking the chamber by one seat, pending Lieberman and any unforeseen surprises. For us to have gotten even that close in a year when we have both more open seats to defend, and more overall seats to defend, is mind-blowing. I am not writing that as a sort of pre-emptive moral victory line, but simply to remind everyone how difficult taking the Senate this year was always going to be. Democrats will probably win more total senate races, 22-23, than either party has won since 1980. Republicans could be kept to single digit Senate victories this year. That will be a remarkable achievement, even if we come up just short in the chamber overall.

Tags: polls, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

I command you to leave MT for Tester

also, have you considered the following? ... from kos

"In our October 8 to 31 tracking polls (since early voting started) we have interviewed a total of 594 early voters. Among these early voters, Jim Pederson is leading Jon Kyl by 4 points: 44% for Pederson compared to 40% for Kyl, with 4% for other candidates and 12% refused. This 4% Pederson lead is all the more remarkable since registered Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to have voted early, and in fact there are more Republicans than Democrats in this early-voting sample of 594 respondents."

by Cleveland John 2006-11-02 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

That kind of victory won't matter if Bush gets another vacancy on the Supreme Court!

That's all he needs to install permanent one party rule in America. And, of course, every single Republican, no matter what they say will always line up to vote for the most extreme candidate imaginable. Scalito III.

In fact, even with the Democrats in charge of the Senate Bush will try to peel off a couple and defy the Judiciary committee by getting the ful Senate to approve the nomination.

But, that kind of trench warfare might just not work with a Democratic majority. It will whip the base into a frenzy for 2008, which Bush will like, but they might still get "Bork-ed".

by Cugel 2006-11-02 08:02AM | 0 recs
Democrats Move Close To Taking Senate

My gut says that Lamont is going to win.  Can't substantiate that with any numbers or graphs, it's just a visceral thing.  I think the situation on the ground in CT is different than the pollsters portray it.

Maybe I'm being irrational here, but somehow I just can't accept that Lieberman has a substantial lead.

by global yokel 2006-11-02 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Move Close To Taking Senate

I too feel that Lamont has it. I will be calling from home here in Massachusettes for him this weekend. I also called all the Assisted Living Places yesterday, where my aunt and her friends live in E Hartford. I made a big deal to the heads of these places about the article in the Courant saying Lieberman trying to "jack" the vote. The directors were gracious and assured me they would watch out for the likes of "Urban Voters and Associates" coming in and "helping" the elderly.

by Grandma M 2006-11-02 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Democrats Move Close To Taking Senate

I think you are being irrational, but then maybe I'm still scared from the beating Dean took.

by MNPundit 2006-11-02 09:46AM | 0 recs
My 2-Seat Margin Doesn't Look Quite So Crazy Now

It's still not the most likely outcome anyone's citing.  But it no longer looks impossible.  If we sweep the top two categories, and pick up either Pederson or Ford, we make it.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-11-02 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

I think we'll take the chamber by one seat, 50-49-1 (I believe in Lamont). Additionally, I think we'll take the House by a margin of 250-185. I used this handy tool at WaPo to figure out race-by-race what my projections would be.

by PsiFighter37 2006-11-02 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

If we take the top two tiers, we've already made it.  Without Penderson or Ford.  (I think we'll get Penderson, too)  And we will take the Senate.  Get out and vote!

by MtnFrost 2006-11-02 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

2012 is going to be one hell of a defense year for us.

by allpaintedcold 2006-11-02 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T
Yeah. We are going to have to run it up in 2008 and 2010.
by Chris Bowers 2006-11-02 09:44AM | 0 recs
Webb's October surprise?

From his website

Dear Virginia Sportsmen and Gun Owners,

As a long-time member of the National Rifle Association, you can imagine my surprise when I received a mailing in the form of an Orange Card saying "VOTE FREEDOM FIRST ON NOVEMBER 7 - VOTE GEORGE ALLEN FOR THE U.S. SENATE!"

I am writing this letter to make certain that no Virginia sportsmen or gun owner has any question concerning my stand on Second Amendment and sportsmen rights.

To be clear, I value and will defend your right of self-defense. As a Marine combat veteran who shot "double expert" and once taught the .45 pistol to Officer Candidates, and as a former Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, I know first hand the importance of armed self-defense by law-abiding citizens as a deterrent to criminals, and in the long term, to would-be tyrants.

I have possessed a concealed-carry permit for many years, and shoot regularly. I have made no secret during this campaign of the fact that I carry. I support a national concealed carry permit. I also will sponsor a bill in the United States Senate that repeals the National Park Gun Ban that disarms only law-abiding citizens in Interior Department/National Park Service across Virginia. And I intend to get it to the floor for a vote.

Please compare this background with that of my opponent. Individual Second
Amendment Rights are ingrained into my Scots-Irish culture, and I stand where I
stand.

On the sporting side, I support opening up more Federal land for sportsmen. Federal land is, after all, the property of all Americans. In addition, I support air and water quality measures that improve wildlife habitat. I will be monitoring the "Farm Bill" and its wildlife habitat programs to make sure that Virginia and our abundance of National Forest lands gets its fair share of funding for our wildlife programs.

You can also imagine my frustration when I received my NRA magazine and saw there was a question mark beside my grade. Only after complaining to the NRA did they finally post my grade on their website. I got an "A" which was purposefully omitted from the NRA orange card that, to my shock, urged a vote for George Allen. The question is, why did they not mention my own lifetime of support on these issues?

In order to fully clear the air, I am making public my 2006 NRA Candidate Survey. You can find that at www.webbforsenate.com/nrasurvey.pdf I challenge George Allen to do the same. We should have no more secret surveys in Virginia when it comes to our right to keep and bear arms.

Please help me clear up this deliberate distortion by an organization that I must regretfully conclude has more on its agenda than protecting the earned Second Amendment rights of our citizens.

by vadem28 2006-11-02 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Webb's October surprise?

Of course they endorse Allen.  And they should. A republican majority is better for their issue than a Democratic one, however gun-friendly Webb personally is.

As Kos has lamented, too bad groups like NARAL and the Sierra club don't get that when they endorse people like Chafee over Whitehouse.

by scientician 2006-11-02 09:33AM | 0 recs
Jame Hamsher was right

If anyone's wondering why as Jane Hamsher, mentioned, Tony Snow decided to "forgive" John Kerry last night on The Factor (he said Kerry's explanation of his comments was 'sufficient') and drop the whole thing, check this out:  Do you think Kerry's comments will affect the outcome of the midterm election for Dems?   26% Yes, 74% No.  

Yeah, it's an interactive MSNBC poll.  But since Republicans tend to swarm (or as they say, "Freep" -- from the GOP website "Free Republic", which touts such tactics) these polls, the very high pro-Democratic response is even more amazing.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-11-02 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

I still don't get the Senate math. Maybe because I am not so smart with math.

Assuming we win Chris's "looking good" and "looking close" categories and we lose the "not looking good" category and Joementum is with the Repubs, what happens?

by ab initio 2006-11-02 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

If it plays out that way, we have 51 seats without Lieberman.  He will play ball and caucus with the Democrats.

It's only if the Democrats have 49 + Sanders and Lieberman would make 51 that we really have to fear him defecting to the GOP.  I'm sure the republicans are kinda hoping it plays out that way so they can get "revenge" for our "stealing" the majority in 2002 by turning Jeffords.

by scientician 2006-11-02 09:39AM | 0 recs
wrong

Lucas is right.

I counted 45 Dems starting, adding 3 and 3 but really I can't count on Lieberman, so it's 44 + 6.

We can't count on lieberman...isn't that what the whole thing was about anyway?

by scientician 2006-11-02 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

Good analysis, although I think you might be getting caught up in the Greenspanian-like "froth" of a positive election cycle when you characterize 49-49-2 as having control of the Senate.  Joe won't hesitate to whore himself to the highest bidders, and won't exhibit a shred of shame in doing so.

by dr bloor 2006-11-02 09:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Entering Final Weekend, Democrats Move Close T

Thanks Lucas. That means we need an upset win in either Pederson or Lamont!

Personally I am not that excited about Ford although he'll vote for a Dem majority. But on key votes he'll defect. So we may still wind up with another Scalito.

by ab initio 2006-11-02 10:18AM | 0 recs
And unfortunately

Connecticut may be where we lose the Senate after winning the 6 seats necessary to take control.

by Andrew C White 2006-11-02 01:59PM | 0 recs

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