Monday, November 06, 2006

Stretch run

As we head into Election Day, I'm going to break my no-poll guideline to lay out some indicators and make some observations heading into Tuesday.

First, where is Bush campaigning? In relatively safe conservative areas. If you want an indication of how Republicans really think the election is going, there's one. Sure, Bush has an abysmal approval rating (down to 35 percent) and would likely hurt more than help in competitive areas. But the fact that they feel the need to defend normally "safe" Republican districts is an indication of where the momentum lies.

Second, GOP activists are trying to gin up enthusiasm by talking about "momentum" heading into Tuesday. But what constitutes momentum? Not trailing the Democrats by quite as huge a margin as they did a few days ago.

And even that nerveless definition of momentum appears to be evaporating. Fox News shows Democrats leading Republicans by 13 points; CNN shows a 20-point Dem advantage, and a compilation of several polls shows a 12-point margin.

It seems a virtual certainty that Democrats will take the House, as well make gains among governors and in state legislatures. The only real question now is who will control the Senate. Give the edge to the GOP, because they win a tie. But it will be close.

My predictions? Democrats pick up 25 to 30 House seats, and 5 or 6 Senate seats. But that prediction is worth exactly what you paid for it.

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