I should begin by saying that I’m not expert on polls or pollsters. I know that Larry Sabato is a nationally respected pollster who teaches at the University of Virginia. I don’t know his track record of success in election prediction. But I’ll happily take his predictions at face value (especially if they turn out to be true). He prognosticates that the Democrats will pick up 29 seats in the House and 6 in the Senate which brings them to 221 House seats and 51 Senate seats:
THE SENATE: +6 Dems = 51D, 49R
Despite hard-fought campaigning in every battleground state up until the very end, the overall Senate picture has not changed much since our Thursday assessment. The Crystal Ball still sees 4, 5 or 6 seats going to the Democrats, resting party control of the Senate squarely on the edge of the butter knife.
The Democrats must win all the close ones and capture all the toss-ups to gain control, which is very tough to do. The safe bet is that Democrats will gain no more than five seats, and thus the GOP will remain in charge by a fingernail of the upper chamber of Congress. But what the heck? We’ll live dangerously. We think the Democrats may…capture just enough seats to take over. This is our least confident prediction.
This is what Sabato has to say about the House race:
THE HOUSE: +29 Dems = 232D, 203R
We admit: the Crystal Ball approaches the task of predicting the range of Democratic gains in the House with some anxiety. Politically, the House has always been the more volatile chamber of Congress this year; it has been the locus of far more scandal, and as always, there are more than ten times as many seats up for grabs in the House than there are in the Senate…
Even since we last published on Thursday, our list of late breaking races has grown much longer, and most of the shifts we have seen have favored the party out of power. Many of these contests emerged as horse races too late for the major parties to compete dollar-for-dollar in the districts at stake, and many are in such deeply red territory that they might not be good long-term investments for Democrats anyway. The Democratic thinking goes: “if we’re headed for a majority, why play in states like Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, or Wyoming only to lose the seats in a less favorable political environment two years later?” Still, we’ll bet outcomes in one or two of these places will surprise us…
The Crystal Ball believes that Democrats will likely win more than enough races to take control (+25 to 33), and could see even larger gains if a large wave crashes even deeply red territory. By the same token, Democrats may end up leaving several of their 2nd or 3rd tier candidates stranded on 2nd or 3rd base with 47 or 48 percent of the vote on Election Night. We are betting that the toss-ups split evenly between the parties, 18 apiece. When we add up all of our predictions, Democrats gain 29 seats in the House to command the same size majority the GOP currently holds, 232-203
My only disappointment among Sabato’s predictions is that Dave Reichert beats Darcy Burner who I’ve been supporting almost since day one:
WA-08 – Toss-up – Rep. Dave Reichert (R) will win reelection overDarcy Burner (D). As a freshman, Reichert has had a big red target on his back all throughout this cycle, but his moves to moderate positions on issues such as stem cell research have met with applause in this suburban Seattle district. Republicans are now optimistic about holding this seat, and though we believe it will go down to the wire, we think Burner will fall just short of knocking off this GOP incumbent.
If she loses Darcy will’ve come damn close. But it’s a tragedy if Dave Reichert gets sent back to Congress. And hey, Sabato’s from Virginia. Maybe he’s no expert on Washington politics and wrong. Another poll last week had Burner ahead by 2%. Who’s right? We’ll find out tomorrow.