Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Will the Democrats take over the House... by more than 40 seats? Or only by 20 or 30?

It cracks me up to see prognosticators still wondering whether the Democratic Party will gain a majority in the House of Representatives or not. The Cook Political Report lists 44 House races (pdf) in the "lean" or "toss-up" ratings as of their last update - with 35 of those currently held by the GOP and 9 by the Democrats. They also list 11 "likely Democrat" races and 20 "likely GOP" races.

But even at that, their ratings are probably still skewed to give the GOP too much benefit of the doubt. For example, on the Senate side they still list Minnesota as a "toss-up" (pdf) - even though every single poll I know of has shown Amy Klobuchar with a double-digit lead that has only grown over time, to a 24-point spread in the latest Star-Trib poll. It's an odd sort of "toss-up" that is discerned from a nearly two-to-one spread.

Another example is the Minnesota Second district, which was solidly blue until four years ago, and where the latest poll shows Coleen Rowley within three points of incumbent John Kline - effectively a tie, since the margin is about the same size as the sampling error. [UPDATE - This poll was taken in only part of the district.] Considering that virtually no incumbent House member was re-elected with less than a five or ten point spread in the last few elections, and the anti-GOP prevailing wind, and the state's and district's traditional Democratic lean, and the fact that Kline's campaign manager was shouting racial epithets at veterans going into a VFW station the other day... this is a damned competitive race.

And yet, the Cook report doesn't even have MN-02 listed at all, even as likely Republican - meaning they haven't even considered it to be competitive.

MN-02 is a genuine toss-up - but apparently it is still less competitive than the sixty GOP-held seats that the Cook Report considered competitive enough to list so far.

Given that, the only big question left in the House elections are how many dozens of seats the Democrats will have to pad their majority.

As an aside... I watch almost no television, but I happened to be in a restaurant yesterday that was showing Fox News, and an ad ran for the Kennedy campaign where he spends the whole ad smiling and snuggling with senior citizens. Which of course immediately raised the question: what does it tell you about his confidence in his own campaign if a GOP candidate feels like he has to spend money to appeal to senior citizens who watch Fox News? That is the most telling indication I have yet seen that the Kennedy campaign faces certain doom.

To follow along with the Minnesota races, here is a round-up of a few other Minnesota blogs. Check out Follow John Kline's Money, MN Publius, Dump John Kline, DFLSenate blog, minvolved, the Power Liberal, Centrisity, and for Minnesotan diversion, Pharyngula.


Me said...

You didn't read that poll right.

Rowley was only within 3 in one city of the 20+ in that district.

Rowley later released the full poll that showed her down by 10 district-wide (i.e. not a tossup) - see mnpublius.com

bryan @ shotgunfreude said...

Updated to reflect the above comment.