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Sunday, October 16, 2005

2006 Elections

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted October 8-10 appears to suggest that Republicans could be in trouble in next year's midterm election.

807 registered voters nationwide were asked, "What is your preference for the outcome of the 2006 congressional elections: a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?" The answer?

39% prefer Republicans
48% prefer Democrats
13% are Undecided

These numbers are being used by Democrats, left-wing bloggers, and the mainstream media to suggest that the Democrats are set to take control of Congress in 2006. But what these numbers do not show is the breakdown of individual Senate and House races, so I decided to do a little checking, and here's what I found.

The Senate
Republicans currently hold a 55-44 seat edge in the Senate, with one liberal-leaning independent, giving Republicans an effective advantage of 55-45

There will be 33 Senate elections in 2006. Of those 33 seats, 17 are currently held by Democrats, 15 by Republicans, and one by an independent.

Analysis of these 33 races reveals the following:

-13 of the 17 Democrat seats are very likely to remain Democrat.
-10 of the 15 Republican seats are very likely to remain Republican.
-The one Democrat leaning independent seat is likely to remain independent.

This means that there are four Senate seats currently held by Democrats that could go to Republicans, and there are five seats currently held by Republicans that could go to Democrats.

Now, let's suppose the Democrats do the following:

-Protect all 4 of the currently held Democrat seats that seem to be in play.
-Win all 5 of the currently held Republican seats that seem to be in play.

This would leave the Senate with a 50/50 split (counting the lone independent with the Democrats). However, with Vice President Cheney casting the deciding vote in the case of any ties, the Democrats would, in reality, still be one seat short of controlling the Senate, meaning that they would have to win one of the current Republican seats that seems to be safe, without letting the Republicans win any "safe" Democrat seats.

In other words, for Democrats to take control of the Senate in 2006, they would need a near perfect storm of victories.

The House
Republicans currently hold a 231-202 seat edge in the House, with 1 Independent, and one vacant seat. In December, the vacant seat will become occupied by Republican John Campbell from Orange County California, giving Republicans a 232-202-1 advantage.

All House seats will be on the ballot in 2006, but analysts, depending on whom you listen to, believe that only 30 to 32 of those seats will be competitive. Of those seats, again according to whom you listen and, therefore, according to which races you see as competitive, 18 to 20 of the competitive races are for seats currently held by Republicans; 10 to 14 are for seats currently held by Democrats.

Looking at one possible scenario based on the above numbers, suppose there are 32 seats in play, 20 currently held by Republicans, 12 by Democrats. To create just a 217-217 tie in the House, Democrats would have to protect all 12 of their own seats, and win 15 of the 20 seats away from the Republicans.

You can create other scenarios from these numbers, but in any one of them, Democrats would need to nearly run the table to gain control of the House in 2006.

Now, I admit, I'm not a statistician, and maybe there is something in these numbers that I'm not seeing. I also realize that it's early, and just because a particular seat might look safe now, that doesn't mean it will be safe next November. That's true of seats held by either party.

Still, it looks to me like the chances of the Republicans maintaining control of both the Senate and the House are excellent, and the great Democratic takeover is just the wishful thinking of the left. Am I wrong?

Source used for this report:

National Review Online
Sabato's Crystal Ball
The Washington Times


Blogger Malott said...

I'm sure its also an attempt to influence the election by creating a sense of momentum. There are many voters that don't "do" politics that are easily influenced by the atmosphere surrounding a race.

But I hope you're right about the outcome.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous oracle said...

You are likely correct in your assessment as it stands today. And the Democrats possibly won't take control of Congress in 2006. But the inevitable swing is underway.

Our nation moves back and forth from progressive to conservative on a fairly regular cycle, which takes much time to complete. The conservative swing started in 1994. It ended just after the 2004 election. The progressive swing has now begun, but it won't be until 2008 that the balance shifts to the Democrats.

In 2006, the House and Senate will remain Republican, but by only slim margins. At the state level in Indiana, the House likely will move back into a 50/50 balance. At the Howard County level, the Democrats have an opportunity to take one or two offices.

In 2007, the city will feel the swing strongly. A democrat will take the mayor's office, and a democrat majority will return on the city council.

In 2008, the rout will begin. A democrat will win the White House. The Senate will return to democrat hands. The House will remain republican, if history is any indicator. Progressives also will take wins at the gubernatorial level in significant numbers. In Howard County, democrats will begin making inroads. By that time, at least one county commissioner, the sheriff's office and possibly a few other offices here and there will be under democrat control.

But take heart. In Indiana, this ideological swing never finds its way completely to the left. At the worst, in 2014, democrats will hold control at the state and national levels, but not to the degree that republicans currently enjoy. At the local level, republicans should still hold a majority in the county, but a minority in the city.

Then the swing will start back to the conservative side and the cycle begins anew.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

Wow! You must really be an oracle if you can predict all that. You may be correct on some of this, but I think it's really too soon to tell. A lot can happen between now and 2008 when you say the rout will begin.

Well before then, I predicte that Iraq will have elected a permanent government under their new constitution; the U.S. will make significant troop withdrawal, and the average American will put Iraq somewhere only in the back of their mind. Gas prices will still be hovering somewhere around $3 per gallon and we'll be used to that price, Bush will start a crackdown on illegal immigrants, and if we don't keep getting hit by hurricanes and Bush can keep from being pressured into raising taxes to pay for hurricane relief, the economy will be going great.

With this happening, the Republicans will retain the White House and the Senate, as well as the House.

But, like I said, it's early so who knows?

11:44 PM  

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