Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tracking the Congressional Election

So how big is the wave that's going to wipe out the GOP on November 7? Why do Republicans act as if they still have hope? Will Democrats top 400 House seats and 80 Senate seats? How do I keep track?

Well, Roll Call has made available a free tracker of the House and Senate races that take place in a few weeks. They list the number of safe, likely, and leaning races for each party, and tell you where the tossups are, and how they look.

As of the morning of October 12, they list the GOP as having 206 House races at least leaning their way, and the Democrats with 208. They identify 21 tossup races. Simple math tells you that the GOP needs to hold all their safe/likely/leaning races, and then win 12 of the 21 tossups to hold the majority. The Democrats need to retain their own, and win 10 of the tossups.

Looks like the map is updated frequently, so it might be worth a bookmark.

Looking at the specific races identified as tossups, it looks to me like the GOP definitely has a reasonable shot at winning 12 of the 21. Is that the outcome I would bet on? Check back on election day.

Also, not to get too far down into the weeds, but don't forget about party-switchers. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are party switchers after election day. Will Steny Hoyer stay a Democrat if Nancy Pelosi backs John Murtha in his leadership race? Will Democrats in conservative districts - like Charlie Melancon in Louisiana and Jim Marshall in Georgia - stay Democrats? Will Henry Cuellar of Texas prove that his endorsement of George Bush was not a fluke, and become a Republican - as many Democrat critics have said he really is?

And what of Joe Lieberman, or Lincoln Chafee (if he survives)?

We'll learn more, as the world turns...

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