Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bottom Falling out for Democrats

Over the last few weeks, we've occassionally covered the increasing evidence that 2010 is looking a lot like 1994. We've talked about the strong possiblity of Republican gains in the Govenrorships and the House, but how the U.S. Senate is a much tougher task simply because of the small amount of Democratic seats up when compared to Republican ones, and where those seats actually are.

However, over the past couple of weeks, more poll numbers are coming out which show that 2010 is looking like a huge political tidal wave that could very well reverse the results of the last couple of elections and could very well put the Republicans back in charge of the House, the majority of the Governorships a nd within striking distance of the Senate, an amazing occurence given the Democrats were, until Ted Kennedy's death last night, 60 seats.

Let's start off with what we know, starting off with the Governorships.

Currently, the Democrats hold a modest 27-23 margin in the Governorships.

In 2009, two seats in current blue states, Virginia and New Jersey, are likely to flip to the Republican column, with Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie winning, respectively -- in the latter case, defeating an incumbent. That would make it 25-25, an even tie.

In 2010, the Governorship picture is very bad for Democrats. Let's start off with the most likely Republican pickups:

Kansas -- Sam Brownback
Oklahoma - Mary Fallin
Tennessee -- Zack Wamp

Those three pickups would bring the Republican number to 28. In addition, these Democratic-held seats are increasingly vulnerable:

Wisconsin -- polls indicate Scott Walker is at least even if not ahead of Democratic candidates.
Colorado -- polls indicate Scott McInnis is ahead of the current governor, Bill Ritter.
Massaschuetts -- this state has elected Republican governors in the past and polls indicate that could happen again, with Deval Patrick only in the 30's. An Independent victory is also possible here.
Michigan -- where polls show the Republicans could easily win with several high profile candidates.
New Mexico -- where Republicans are within striking distance.
Ohio -- polls show John Kasich closing in fast on Governor Ted Strickland
New York -- polls show Rudy Guiliani would clobber David Patterson and would be quite competitive with Andrew Cuomo.
Iowa -- polls show former Governor Terry Branstad could defeat current Governor Terry Branstad

Other polls show that Illinois, Arkansas, and Maryland are also on the radar for Republicans if they find the right candidate.

Key for the Republicans is holding the fort in places like South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.

However, even if they would lose in Hawaii and Rhode Island, there is a strong possiblity that a strong wave could carry the Republicans to around 30+ governors, a pick up of 7 and a dramatic increase in the ability to propose legislation. A major wave could get net them as many as 10 seats, if not more.

Next, let's take a look at the House. Recent articles by Charlie Cook show that even independent analysts say that the Republicans (who need to pick up 40 seats to get the House back) are likely to pick up at least 20, and republican leaders are making sounds that the House is within reach. The Republican recruitment efforts here are particularly strong. A good test will be if the 3rd District in Kansas gets on the radar...if it does, the Republicans will likely win Congress. If it's on the edge of the radar , it will be close. If it isn't, they will likely pick up 20-40 seats but not Congress.

The real news, however, lies in the U.S Senate races.

Here, the Republicans have no seats they are almost assuredly going to pick up, but there are several that are now on the radar as even to likely:

- Connecticut, where Chris Dodd is extremely unpopular and former Rep. Rob Simmons appears ready to win.
- Pennsylvania, where Arlen Specter is now trailing Pat Toomey.
- Illinois, where several Democratic candidates trail Mark Kirk.
- Nevada, where Harry Reid trails both Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.
- Colorado, where Michael Bennett is barely ahead or a little behind candidates who are not regarded as household names.
- Arkansas, where most experts previously considered safe, where new polls show Blanche Lincoln actually behind.
- Delaware, where Beau Biden is notdoing well in polls. The key here is finding a solid opponent.
- California, where polls show Boxer is hovering at 50% or below.
- New York, where polls show Pataki would beat Gilliland
- North Dakota, where polls show Gov Hoeven could win.

Now, folks, that's almost ALL the Democratic seats up -- that shows how difficult this is for the Republicans, yet they are almost ALL competitive. The only Republican seats under threat are in Missouri, Ohio, and New Hampshire where polls all show the Republican at least tied and any wave towards the GOP would probably save all three.

So, let's say the Republicans pick up NV, CT, PA, IL, CO, and AR. that alone would take the number of Democrats all the down to 54, and that's assuming they hold onto Massachsetts and the other states that are vulnerable.

Then in 2012, the Democrats have a ton of seats up and if Obama's numbers continue to sink, the Democrats could end up losing the Senate.

Moral of this story? The Republicans could easily see a wave like 1994, will easily capture the nation's governorships, could very well win the House, and the only thing preventing them from evening upt he Senate (even down 10 seats right now) is the fact there are only 10 seats available!

How quickly politics can change.