Some Perspective On The Senate

On November 8th, 2006, from what I can tell, in all likelihood Republicans will continue to control the Senate. No doubt, the Republican Noise Machine will use this to try and mute the size of the Democratic victory in the elections. However, while we are nowhere near as likely to take control of the Senate as we are of the House, it is actually a very simple case to make that we are doing better in the Senate elections than we are in House elections. The basic problem is that the Senate only elects one-third of its members every tow years, and we were in just too big a hole in the Senate entering the 2006 elections to have a reasonable chance for control.

Here is the perspective I would urge: look at the performance of Democrats and Republicans in all thirty three Senate elections this year. We are absolutely kicking their ass. Here is the nationwide picture across all thirty-three campaigns, based on Pollster.com's five poll averages:
  • Strong Democratic: 18
  • Lean Democratic: 2
  • Toss-up: 4
  • Lean Republican: 2
  • Strong Republican: 7
Now that is an absolute butt-whooping that we won't see replicated in the House. We already have more than half of the thirty-three races, 18, in the "strong Democratic" column. By contrast, Republicans have less than one-quarter of the races, 7, in the "strong Republican" category. A quick glimpse at the state of the thirty-three elections is that the absolute best-case scenario for Republicans is to lose the Senate races 20-13. The absolutely best case for Democrats would appear to be to win the Senate races 24-9. That is a real throttling, a true thrashing, no matter what way you look at it.

My final senate forecast will probably project Democrats picking up four seats, which will mean a victory of 22-11 across the thirty-three campaigns. That will actually be one better than Republicans managed in 1994, when they won the same thirty-three campaigns 21-12. What this means is that Republicans should thanks their lucky stars that all 100 Senate seats were not up for re-election this year, ala all 435 seats in the House of Representatives. If they were, Democrats would not be talking about an outside chance at a majority, but whether or not we would win 60 seats. We opened up a pretty big can of whoop-ass on Republicans in the Senate this year, it just would have taken an all-timer, galactic landslide for Democrats to retake control in 2006.

Tags: election forecasts, polls, Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

41 Comments

Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

The Dems may pick up more - Tennessee is still close - only 4 behind in the last Ras poll

by albagubrath 2006-11-05 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

The average is bad for Ford and trending worse, why would that poll not be an outlier?

by MNPundit 2006-11-05 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Aha, but it looks like it will be raining in Eastern Tennessee.

Gad may want Ford to win after all.

by BruceMcF 2006-11-05 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

I am on the side that says post mortems should wait until Nov 8, not nov 5th. I can see the collateral idea such as with Tester that one would want to shore up any problems that are presenting themselves, but all of this post election spin- what purpose does it serve before we have even cast ballots? Do you not think that after so many people in the blogsphere trumpeting a defeat is really a win, that never the less may help demoralize anyone reading your constant postings about how pessimistic you are. Just curious about why the pre election post election post mortem.

by bruh21 2006-11-05 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Post-election spin is set before the election, not after it.

by aip 2006-11-05 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

odd- I guess someone should tell bush and rove that- they are talking still as if they will win the house and senate, rather than assuming they will lose one. they maybe delusional, but delusional has worked for them for 6 years- all i am saying is wait 2 and half days.

by bruh21 2006-11-05 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Chris is doing his best to help..who gives a fuck if we do well with aggregate numbers..we need seats, and we need them now..a lot of damage can be done in two years

by tommy 2006-11-05 01:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

I will simply repeat my point, and then I won't comment anymore because you are turning this personal: my concern is about psychology- that we lose because we expect to lose. That's the mentality that I am commenting on.  I question regardless of the numbers whether its the best strategy two days out from the election to try to read every tea leaf rather maybe for example talk about other aspects of the race that maybe help? You have kos being pessmistic over at D Kos (TN is over by Kos, We won't win the Senate by Bowers, etc). You have multiple other sites that progressives are going to after doing GOTV, etc., doing the same thing. They aren't simply saying "things are tight, and we need to redouble our efforts- they are commenting as though its fait accompli that we have lost" Who are these statements before an election helping? Right now in VA, people are thinking Allen is done, and in fact, there was speculation that a Republican operative voiced this concern- he was quickly questioned on the basis of the fact that such talk this close to the end of multiple races is demoralizing. Bowers may or may not be right about the numbers, but I am concerned about the impact of arguing fait accompli arguments will have on anyone who happens to read his commentary.

by bruh21 2006-11-05 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

PS- I dont think there anything wrong with polls, but I do think there is an overabundance of people trying to jump to the bit to tell us what it all means when we are still in the thick of it. What it all means can be sorted out started after all the polls close- maybe in a 24 hour news cycle (and now with the internets- hourly news cycle) that doesn't make as much sense, but in an psychology of focus sense- it does. I just did some GOTV today- reading your post when I just made these phone call depresses me.

by bruh21 2006-11-05 11:10AM | 0 recs
But why does it matter?

Chris makes a good point (to his credit).  But can't help but wonder: how can we seriously make the case that our winning the house will make a difference?  

More to the point: How can we effectively stand for something?  

Simply pass broad visioned legislation to simply get shot down by a conservative senate or conservative president?

I suppose I simply add more to the argument that we "have unfinished work to do in 2008" but how do we make more of a persuasive case to the independent voter to give us additional influence?  

I suppose I'm operating on the assumption that the Republican Senate and President will deny us any legislation that speaks to our values and vision.  I think that is a fair observation though.

by ira13ping 2006-11-05 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: But why does it matter?

The Hopuse is important.  Tax and other revenue-raising bills must originate in the House. Must pass the Hpuse and be sent to the Senate for there to be action.  The tables will now be turned where the Dems can pass a budget resolution and the Senate will not be able to filibuster it.  This is one big part of the leverage the Dems have over the Pres.

by Mimikatz 2006-11-05 12:42PM | 0 recs
Re: But why does it matter?

(1) "Simply" to get shot down? That's part of the process of extending or winning a Senate Majority in 2008 ... make Senate Republicans either vote down or support a veto on legislation that they don't want to.

(2) Then there is cloture and the fillibuster ... every step from 40 to 50 is one more Senator to make up a cloture-proof block of opposition to a bill

(3) And of course this post is about the Senate, which designed to not flip quickly. But for the House, you must strike when the iron is hot. The House should be changing 80 seats in a year like this, but the best gerrymandering that GIS software can engineer means that there are much fewer seats in play. Still, a majority of 10 or more seats will lead to Republican retirements and additional pick-up opportunities in 2008.

and saving the best for last ...

(4) The power of the subpoena. Democrats have not had a firm base to stand on to drive their issues, nor to uncover dirty deeds by the White House. A House Majority means that they do.

by BruceMcF 2006-11-05 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate
I so hope that the Democrats take the House.  But I fear they won't, and not because it's not the will of the people but because the Republicans will once again use a variety of tricks and tactics to steal the election.  For instance, here in Indiana and elsewhere, there are now 'photo ID required to vote' laws that will disenfranchise many elderly and the poor people (many of which of course vote Democratic).
I also don't trust the voting machines that have been foisted on us by the HAVA act.  We are now in a situation where 80% of our votes are counted on trade secret software manufactured by two companies (ES&S and Diebold) with long-standing ties to the Republican party.  We've had elections using these machines where Democrats were leading in the polls and then, "lost" (e.g., Max Cleland, Roy Barnes and Walter Mondale in 2002, just to name a few).  
But of course bringing up these things makes me a "conspiracy theorist".  
Bottom line, the Democrats should win big Tuesday.  If they don't, we have every reason to suspect foul play, in spite of whatever spin the mainstream media (and blogs like this one) may try to put on the official results.    
 
by nmonster 2006-11-05 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Huh? It was close but Mondale wasn't leading in the polls in 2002.

by MNPundit 2006-11-05 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Plus MN has paper-trail mandated voting.

by MNPundit 2006-11-05 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate
Okay, I'll grant you Mondale but both Cleland and Barnes in Georgia had comfortable leads in the polls in 2002, which also just happens to be the first year that Diebold instituted paperless e-voting statewide.  Also, a former Diebold contractor turned whistleblower has said that Diebold installed a "patch" onto the voting machines just prior to the election without elections officials' knowledge.
But I guess to see something fishy here makes me a tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist.
by nmonster 2006-11-05 03:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Typo alert: there are 435 (you typed 425) voting Representative seats up for election every two years.
_______

Democrats should have as an at-the-ready talking point that the senate is an undemocratic institution. Eric Alterman quotes from the Hacker and Pierson book Off Center:

Combining the last three Senate elections, Democrats have actually won two-and-a-half million more votes than Republicans. Yet they now hold only 44 seats in that 100-person chamber because Republicans dominate the less populous states that are so heavily over-represented in the Senate. As the journalist Hendrik Hertzberg notes, if one treats each senator as representing half that state's population, than the Senate's 55 Republicans currently represent 131 million people, while the 44 Democrats represent 161 million."

by CMike 2006-11-05 11:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Oh, bosh, why do Californians insist on keeping state boundaries from the time that the southern half of the state was an unpopulated desert? There's an affront to Democracy ... the biggest Pacific Northwest population trapped as a minority of the population of California with all those Southern Californians.

by BruceMcF 2006-11-05 01:44PM | 0 recs
New Pew and the Kerry stink

Some very bad news from Pew Research reinforcing the latest bad news from WaPo poll:

http://people-press.org/reports/display. php3?ReportID=295

If we wake up on Wednesday morning with a Republican House, we should demand John Kerry's resignation.  

I am so hopping mad at that egotistical windbag!  He has managed to stop our momentum at the most critical of moments and energize the Republicans.  Many of these races on Tuesday will be decided by a point or two, and you have to wonder what the result would have been if that selfish ass had just kept his mouth shut.    

by Lassallean 2006-11-05 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Remember how you felt the morning after the 2004 election?  We're coming again....

Republicans Cut Democratic Lead in Campaign's Final Days
Democrats Hold 47%-43% Lead Among Likely Voters

by minneopa 2006-11-05 11:52AM | 0 recs
begone troll

Reposting the same derisive comment in every thread.

I'm sure you'll find FreeRepublic or Townhall is much more interested in focusing on a clear outlier poll.

by scientician 2006-11-05 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

For Christ's sake, Shut the Fuck Up!
Man up and quit whining and fearing or at least clam up.  You're driving voters from the polls and doing the rePukes work for them.

The ball game ain't over until the last out, this year of any year out of the last 10.

A Cardinals fan, in central Florida.

by rodean 2006-11-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Actually, I am driving voters to the polls because I've just spent an hour calling progressive voters in swing districts on my dime for moveon.org.  Comments on a liberal blog like this one will hardly discourage turnout because mydd's readers (I hope) will crawl over hot coals to vote for Democrats.

I am also from central Florida, and "shut the fuck up" is generally not language we use down here toward fellow progressives.  I also have the good graces to call Republicans "Republicans" and let their pukiness speak for itself, which it often does.  Why? If grace and civility are dead, it doesn't much matter who controls Congress because the world has gone to Hell.  Try to be civil.

by Lassallean 2006-11-05 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Give me a break. In this atmosphere "civil" will get you knifed in the front. Give me someone who is an asshole but is honest and tries to govern over someone who is civil and polite but gets steamrolled.

I don't think something posted on MyDD will depress turnout but civility died a long time ago. You can pretend we'll get it back but there's no way.

If you are a civil candidate and the other is not you will lose.

by MNPundit 2006-11-05 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

You and I live in different worlds.  You can remake reality into anything you want, but that's a philosophical discussion best left to the coffeehouse.  You equate civility with weakness, and that's a shame.  

Would you have us out-Rove Rove, or would you have us invent a new, progressive atmosphere, which tries to elevate minds instead of burying them in muck?  I think the NRSC's ad against Ford in TN was disgusting because I am a civil person.  Winning at all costs is a pyric victory.  Isn't that half of our message this cycle, that winning at all costs is wrong?
 

by Lassallean 2006-11-05 01:47PM | 0 recs
Newsweek, WP Polls: Kerry helped Democrats

Sorry, L, but Kerry didn't hurt and probably helped Democrats.  I don't like the guy much either, but I'll be fair to him when he's being slimed by people falling for GOP traps.

Here's the internals of a Washington Post poll and quotes from Chuck Todd on Hardball.  Notice that even Todd says that Kerry didn't do diddly to hurt the Democrats.

Here's the latest Newsweek poll showing that Kerry HELPED the Democrats.  Remember, in order to diss Kerry, the Republicans had to bring up Iraq -- and the LAST thing they want right now is for people to think about Iraq.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-11-05 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Newsweek, WP Polls: Kerry helped Democrats

I hope you are right.

by Lassallean 2006-11-05 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

you guys are depressing me WTF??? Dont stress out on the Pew poll, Newsweek and time both have generic polls with us ahead by 15 & 11 respectively!! Calm down....

by nzubechukwu 2006-11-05 12:17PM | 0 recs
It's All Good, Actually

If we win the Senate, groovy.  

If we don't win the Senate, that's groovy too.  Here's why:

If the Dems took both houses, the GOP/Media Complex is going to spend the next two years yammering about "the do-nothing Democratic Congress" or some such.  But taking only the House allows us to hold hearings and have subpoena power, while preventing the media from whining (as they did during the 1980s and much of the 1990s) about "unbroken Democratic control of Congress" yadayadayada.

And I sincerely think that it will put us in a better position for 2008.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-11-05 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Wishful thinking Phoenix Woman. When the Dem's take the House we will see Waxman, etc conduct absurd investigative hearings that will doom them in 2006.  Do you think Nancy is going to control this mob?

by minneopa 2006-11-05 12:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Waxman's reckless oversight will inspire patriotic Republicans to build a time machine,  travel back to October 2006, and broadcast tapes of his EEE-VIL on the Rush Limbaugh program.

This will doom the Democrats in 2006,  causing a causality paradox that results in total disruption of the space time continuum.

The earth is replaced by a black hole.

by LordZoltar 2006-11-05 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Yes, in 2008 the Reps will have to defend 21 seats and the Dems just 12.  Among the GOP seats are those who owe their victories to the "Iraq" election of 2002.  There may be a chance of getting at least 5 more in 2008, plus the outside chance of a defection, or resignation or (not wishing for it) death that leaves a seat open to be filled by a Dem Governor, of whom we will have many on Wednesday.  What happens Wednesday is not the last word.

I can see Iraq getting worse and Cheney and Bush stiffing Congress, then some sort of deal or defections in order to get us out of an untenable situation.

by Mimikatz 2006-11-05 12:34PM | 0 recs
tradesports

I'm confused... tradesports currently has democrats winning in virginia, md, ri, mo, montana, penn, nj, ohio... what am I missing here?  admittedly, tradesports has the GOP retaining senate at 72%... but the individual trades in the senate races strongly show Dems winning 6 seats.
by lokiloki 2006-11-05 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: tradesports

What you're missing is that Tradesports doesn't know anything more than anyone else does.  It's really a pretty crappy predictor of elections.  It's a good indicator of conventional wisdom.

Taken individually, Democrats should take MO, VA and MT for example.  But in the aggregate as a statistical proposition, the odds are not so good.

by scientician 2006-11-05 01:15PM | 0 recs
Re: tradesports

Just to extend that, is they were each 51:49 situations, and they were each independent rolls of the dice (2 diferent colored 10-sided dice, I guess), then the odds of all three going to the slightly higher odds bet is (51/100)^3 or 13.3%.

Now, they are not completely unrelated, so its not that bad, but 3 "possibly lean Democratic, within the MOE" races does not equate to "most likely three wins".

There are always, for example, things like a cold rainy day in eastern Tennessee that might help swing things back to Ford.

And things like, for example, efforts to provide greater vigilance by poll watchers this year than 2004 (certainly here in Ohio, I hope elsewhere in the country).

by BruceMcF 2006-11-05 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: tradesports

The Tradesport numbers are something like VA 60, MD 70, RI 72, MO 58, MT 65, PA 97, NJ 97(!), OH 95, so combining them the implied chance of winning all 8 states is .60*.70*.72*.58*.65*.97*.97*.95 = about 10%.

by KCinDC 2006-11-05 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Reality check:

If you average ALL the very recent polls from all the polling firms then the Democrats are 10.25% ahead on the Republicans. Panic not.

I read on the Daily Kos thread that a poll coming out tonight shows Ford only 3% behind in TN. Hang in there folks.

by albagubrath 2006-11-05 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Im calling bullshit on this post...Chris your like not a campaign manager or chairman of any caucus commitee that im aware of, which begs the question,...why the fuck are you trying to manage the expectations game??? quite frankly. i find it insulting

by tommy 2006-11-05 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Chris is trying to be cute..color me unamused..

by tommy 2006-11-05 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

I know this site above all lives and breathes polls. But with regard to polls during these races I'm convinced that Nobody Knows Anything. Period.

I'll try to be more "civil" but after I read that bullcrap header and the comments that followed I wanted to punch someone. Not real effective when you're a chubby gramma. Say "MY Perspective" on the Senate don't for the love of Wellstone say Some Perpective like it's coming from the font of all political wisdom.

Listen: Nobody. Knows. Nothin'. You hear? Did you read the remarks of those depressed people who'd been dialing their little hearts out. Or will be dialing their hearts out tomorrow.  And like Imus told Kerry.  "Please stop it. Stop talking. Go home, get on the bike, go wind-surfing, anything stop it. You're going to ruin this."

wtf would motivate someone to say well, maybe 3, maybe 4, but we're winners anyway because.. . .
The timing for these remarks is so bad. Zogby doesn't know anything really. You don't know anything really. Gallup doesn't know anything really. They're mostly pissing in the wind because this climate may be similar to 94 but overall is unprecedented. On top of that, many pollsters been co-opted, biased, or bought and sold so their polls don't mean shite. I've been robo-called up the ying-yang this last week. My son in Missouri - same thing. We're not answering any more. Think we're the only ones?
Young voters are registering at an unprecedented pace. Are they registering to NOT vote? Are they at home to get the pollsters' calls? Are they skewed progressive? What's the cell phone percentage here?

More Imus:"God, just stop it, I'm begging you. I love you, but just stop it, I'm begging you."
I know Chris and other downbeat info posters meant well and perhaps were trying to act more knowledgeable than circumstances warrant because we're all desperate for more info. I personally found it enraging and horribly ill-timed.  This post did harm, I'm telling you, particularly since the main weapon in the rePukes' arsenal is voter suppresion, next in line is out and out theft. (There are rePukes and there are actual Republicans, btw, the administration is staffed with rePukes, the real R's left long ago)

So instead of a tidy little STFU or WTF I said what I meant at the time. And I'm passionate about taking our country back, passionate about politics - been so long before I cast my very first vote for JFK.

But I still mean STFU unless there's something positive of major merit to say at this incredibly sensitive juncture prior to voting. The ground game is everything now.  Shhhhhh. Like my mom used to say 'if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all'. At least until the polls close.
shhhhhh.

by rodean 2006-11-05 03:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Some Perspective On The Senate

Point taken.  Our calling effort at moveon.org hit 5 million today.  How's that for good news? Someone post that headline!

by Lassallean 2006-11-05 06:02PM | 0 recs

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