Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election preview

We get pretty excited about elections here at jsb. This is what I think is going to happen today:

Webb (D) defeats Allen (R)
It's no secret George Allen preferred being the governor in Richmond to being a Senator in Washington. He only ran for Senate in 2000 because he was term limited as governor. And he only ran for reelection this year because he had his eyes on the number one executive job in the land and needed to bring "Senator from Virginia" into that race.

Once Macaca etc. killed any chance of Allen having a national political career he lost his will to fight. Worse, his staff, most of whom signed on to catch a rising star, checked out too. His public appearances were wooden and his commercials were awful. Still, I thought he was going to be able to hold on.

Now we get word he basically stopped fundraising down the stretch and in his final ad, when he asks Virginia for his vote, it seems like he is going to cry.

During the campaign Allen came off as bad candidate and even worse guy. If he isn't convinced he should win, I don't see why anyone else should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Webb wins easily and early. Which suggests the Democrats will take the Senate.

Except, up the road:

Steele (R) defeats Cardin (D)
Steele currently trails Cardin by 3 to 5 points. But if Steele, who is an African American, can grab 30 percent of the black vote it guarantees him victory. Current polling has him at 15 percent of that vote. My hunch is a "reverse Wilder effect*" and Steele's slew of late endorsements from political leaders in Maryland's heavily black Prince George's county will put him over the top.

Steele, the Lieutenant Governor, has been able to secure the majority of white support with an off-beat, cheerful campaign and his association with governor Robert Ehrlich, who is very popular among white voters and is locked in his own tight battle for reelection with Tommy Carcetti-I mean Martin O'Malley.

Menenedez (D) defeats Kean (R)
This race was always much closer than it should have been. Kean, the son and namesake of a popular former New Jersey governor, never closed the modest gap. So he loses.

Casey (D) defeats Santorum
This son and namesake of a former Governer wins. The final result won't be as embarrassing for Santorum as it would have been a couple weeks ago.

Whitehouse (D) defeats Chafee (R)
I'm tempted to give this one to Chafee, since he has turned a rout into a horse race, but he has done so by apologizing for being a Republican and possibly starting a whispering campaign that he would switch parties if elected. If Republicans are that unpopular in Rhode Island, enough people will be convinced to vote for the Democrat.

Lieberman (I) defeats Field
This one is easy, Lieberman in a walk. If the Democrats do take the Senate they will have to deal with a bitter and vengeful Lieberman as their deciding vote. (Jim Webb will be no prize either. He is quite conservative by nature, and he turned on Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush 2. He could very well end up turning on the Democrats by becoming an arch-conservative Pat Buchanan type --only without the manners and with a possible case of post-traumatic stress disorder.)

Brown (D) defeats DeWine (R)
Nothing good is happening to the Republicans in Ohio.

Corker (R) defeats Ford (D)
Ford's clever right-wing Democrat campaign was ruined by his national party when they decided to whine about a "racially charged" ad that ran against him. The problem was the ad, while bizarre and inappropriate for other reasons, had a legitimate non-racial explanation, and the people of Tennessee resented the implication they were easy marks for the race card. The race turned pretty dramatically during the backlash against the backlash. One commentator tried to explain what happened by saying it was the point when the "people in Eastern Tennessee first learned Harold Ford was black." I'm not sure if this was comment on how light skinned Ford is, or a joke about TV ownership in Appalachia.

McCaskill (D) defeats Talent (R)
Missouri, the ultimate bellwether, should go blue on a day the Dems have a clear advantage. If Talent pulls it off the Rove/Mehlman ground game is all they claim it to be, and Democratic gains will be limited everywhere.

Tester (D) defeats Burns (R)
I was going to give this one to Burns, who seems to have all the momentum, but I heard up to quarter of Montana has already voted. That will favor Tester because he was way up a couple weeks ago.

This adds up to a five seat gain for the Democrats in the Senate, and leaves them one vote short of the majority.

I am also going to predict a 22 seat pick up for the Democrats in the House of Representatives, which would gave the Democrats the majority and make Nancy Pelosi the speaker.

Watch the three contested seats in Connecticut and the three surrounding Philadelphia tonight. If all six go to the Democrats, 22 is probably too low, If the Republicans can hold more than two, the new Democratic majority is in doubt.

No matter what happens, I'll be hanging out with Chris Mathews and Britt Hume and Wolf Blitzer until the bitter end.

*During the Virginia governor's race in 1990 Douglas Wilder, who is black, was leading his opponent by ten points in the last round of polls. Wilder prevailed by less than a point. Many speculate white Democrats in Virginia didn't want to tell pollsters they were going to vote their skin color, not their party. A "reverse Wilder effect," would be black voters crossing party lines to vote for a black candidate, but withholding that information from pollsters.


jdmain said...

Did you vote today? I think I was the only one in my polling place to vote for Steele. FYI, they changed polling stations this year. It's no longer at the church, it's now at the library.

JT said...

I'm stuck here in VA. Steele is actually extremely socially conservative, so I don't know about him. But do think he will win -- although it's not good if he's getting zero votes in b-town, Erhlich and Steele won last time out by doing well in southern Mont. County -- so you'll be able to stick up his photo and use point him out as a good example for you kids.