The 2010 midterm elections are coming a week from Tuesday, on November 2. As we're coming down to the wire, how are polls and prognosticators seeing the landscape shift? Most forecasts show significant gains for the Republican Party, which is expected to take control of the House and possibly the Senate. Of the 37 gubernatorial races currently underway, a majority either favor the Republican candidate or are too close to call. That Republicans will regain the House seems in little doubt, but there's vigorous debate about the fate of the Senate, the national mood, and what the polling numbers mean for Obama.
Dems Likely to Keep Senate, predicts Nate Silver at The New York Times. Silver, the man behind the polling aggregator FiveThirtyEight, gives the GOP "a 17 percent chance of winding up with at least 51 Senators after Nov. 2," as of the most recent forecast. However, Silver sees a 0 percent chance that Democrats will come away with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority. In the House, Silver gives Republicans a 73 percent chance of majority, with a probable net gain of up to 48 seats. He adds, though, that there's "considerable uncertainty in the forecast because of the unusually large number of House seats now in play," and the margin of error may be as much as 30 seats in either direction.
Senate Extremely Close, declares the polling site Rasmussen Reports. Rasmussen gives Democrats 48 Senate seats after the election and Republicans 46, with six races too close to call. However, the report notes that all six of those seats are currently held by Democrats, and while Republicans look poised to take five Democratic seats in other contests, "no Republican-held seats appear headed for the Democratic column." Rasmussen gives the edge to Republicans in the gubernatorial series, predicting 28 victories for the GOP, 13 for Democrats, and nine races too close to call.
If Dems Keep Senate But Lose House, It Will Defy History The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza explains that "since 1930, party control of the House has flipped seven times. And each time, Senate control has also switched." Cillizza then offers a step-by-step explanation of how, exactly, Republicans could gain the 10 seats they need for Senate control--a process that involves tossup and likely Democratic states breaking for the GOP. Washington's race between Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi "could be the linchpin on the narrow hopes Republicans hold out for control of the chamber," says Cillizza--though he points out that "a wild card" like Alaska's three-way race "could change everything."
The Enthusiasm Gap Is Real Liz Sidoti of The Associated Press notes that only half of Barack Obama voters in 2008 are definitely planning to vote in the midterms, as opposed to two-thirds of McCain supporters. Sidoti adds that according to an AP-Knowledge Networks poll, a quarter of Obama's '08 voters "are defecting to the GOP or considering voting against the party in power in November." The poll reflects widespread disillusionment with Obama, Sidoti says, as well as a desire for "Congress to keep the president in check."
Very Much a Referendum on Obama The Wall Street Journal reports that "Mr. Obama is having a large impact on the campaign." Of a sample of respondents to a Journal/NBC News poll, "35% say their vote is a signal of support for Mr. Obama, while 34% say it's a signal against him." The Journal notes that Democrats are making headway in certain areas: the party's numbers have improved among young women, African-Americans, and senior citizens, and climbed since August "in the battleground Midwest."