- RI: (R) Chafee, +2. It shouldn't. But I think he's just that entrenched. I'm not going to say that if he wins, some fraud will necessarily have been involved. But Rhode Island had to be bribed into ratifying the Constitution because the corrupt leaders didn't want their applecart looked at, and I don't think it's changed a whole lot since. It's like Chicago or New Jersey for Democrats, only quieter. I don't like Lincoln Chafee, and I don't trust him, and if he loses without losing the GOP their majority, I'll be just fine with it.
- TN: (R) Corker, +7. I've got nothing against the Playboy Mansion, but if you're going to campaign from the pulpit, maybe you ought to give Hef a raincheck. I think the nail in Ford's coffin was when he was seen as being oversensitive to the non-racist blonde chick ad.
- NJ: (D) Menendez, +3. I really thought this could go the other way, with the NJ Supremes typical judicial activism on display with gay marriage, and Menendez' many ethical issues. I think it's going to be much closer than the polls indicate. But NJ is just too blue, and with party machinery that makes RI look like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
- MO: (R) Talent, +2. This is anyone's game, but the GOP get out the vote (GOTV) effort is stronger here. That, coupled with the power of incumbency, gives him the edge. Conservative leaning voters, smart enough to know the difference between embryonic stem cells and other, more effective and less morally questionable kinds which Talent does support, will be irritated enough by Marty McFly's disingenuous (about Talent's position, not his disease) meddling to bump the edge up another notch.
- VA: (R) Allen, +5. There's a LOT of military in VA. Kerry's comments will help Republicans here like nowhere else. The only reason I don't have Webb down more is that Allen's lame book character attack backfired, in my opinion.
- MT: (R) Burns, +1. This is anyone's call, but again, this is a place where Kerry's comments really did some damage. Burns probably doesn't deserve to win, either, but I don't know that people dislike him more than they dislike John Kerry's ilk in charge of the Senate. This race will depend greatly on the East, though - if Dems do well early, Burns could lose his edge in the turnout.
- PA: (D) Casey, +6. I think Santorum's GOTV is better here than people give him credit for, but he's just too far to the right for this state. Casey is socially conservative to take that advantage away from Santorum, and to appeal to the Truman Democrats. But we haven't seen the last of Rick Santorum.
- WA: (D) Cantwell, +6. Here, too, I think the GOP GOTV is better than people give it credit for, but hell, I almost voted for Cantwell because I wanted to support Democrats who are grownups on national security, and I think she is. She's weak, but will prevail. Her victory will be diminished by the Libertarian and Green candidates, who will get a lot of anti-war votes by people who feel Cantwell is safe.
- OH: (D) Brown, +7. I think the polls are overstated here against DeWine. But state party politics are rife with corruption, and the Republican party there is incompetent, out of touch, and should be condemned like an old building. +7 is a generous nod to the GOTV.
- MD: (R) Steele, +3. Big upset here. Massive black, traditionally Democratic support usually taken for granted by Democrats will be key. Race can unfortunately play havoc with pollsters - people often give "PC" answers and then vote differently in the booth. In this case, that means blacks who will give the "right" answer as to which party they support. A lot hinges on this - if MD looks to go earlier, it will energize late voting Republicans and demoralize Democrats.
- AZ: (R) Kyle, +7. Being in a safe position, Republicans will feel more free to punish the wayward party with non-votes. This will trend left of the polls, while most states the GOTV effort will put the GOP ahead of predictions.
- CT: (I) Lieberman, +12. Republicans have adopted him, traditional Democrats have always loved him. Schlesinger is a joke. Lamont has thrown in his hat with the children of the nutty left. This was to be the victory of the Kossacks. But Americans of all political stripes (except, apparently, in Massachusetts) want grownups in charge. Lamont and his band of 60's retread neo-hippies are about to be told to go get their shineboxes, and I'm going to enjoy every second of it.
I predict the GOP will lose 12 seats, and barely eek out control. This could easily go as many as 8 more seats the other way, but I am confident that the Democrats, if they gain control, will not do it by more than 5 seats.
Locally, McDermott will win with about 75% (sigh). Burner will lose by 8, and will re-join us here in law school unaware that her close run had everything to do with Bush discontent and nothing to do with her.
I base this on a couple of things:
- The GOTV effort is just better for the Republicans. A friend who lives in Ballard yesterday told me that a McDermott worker knocked on his door. Anecdotal to be sure, but if this is any indication at all on how the Democrats are spending their resources, they're being wasteful. I think it's worth a 2-3 point bump in almost every district.
- The Kerry comments. In one dumb move, he reminded them of why Democrats aren't better than the disappointing GOP, just because they're not Bush. Worth another point on average.
- Polling Data. Polls usually err towards Democrats, although that effect is less so closer to the election. But I think that Democrat error is increasing. Younger voters tend to be more conservative (more on that in another post), and are less likely to have land lines. Pollsters don't call cell phones. This is worth another 2-3 point edge in even the more accurate polls.
There are other reasons - resentment over MSM cheerleading, over-reliance on urban voters, etc.
One thing is for certain. Whatever happens, our nation will continue to grow, to thrive, and to be the Shining City on the Hill. I believe in the profound wisdom of the American People when they come together to make the big decisions, and will accept their verdict, even if I don't agree with it. And that's why I'm optimistic no matter what tomorrow's impact on our government - or my bet with Publius - may be.