Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

August 25, 2007 11:40 AM

2008 Congressional Elections

In a June surveys, 53% of potential voters said they would vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress and 41% for the Republican candidate. Further, 48% indicated that it was time to elect a new person as opposed to 41% who would stick with the incumbent. [CNN/ORC 6/07; NBC/WSJ 6/07]

Earlier in July, Americans were asked  their opinion of the two largest political parties. Republicans were rated favorably by 38% and unfavorably by 56%. Democrats on the other hand were rated favorably by 52% and unfavorably by 41%. [CBS/NYT 7/07] Both parties have roughly the same ratings as they did last October before the Democrats took over the House and Senate.

The job performance approval rating of the Congress and of each of the parties members of the Congress are nothing special.

Approve Disapprove
Congress 25% 61%
Republicans 34% 64%
Democrats 46% 51%

To provide some frame of reference here are the same ratings from early October, 2006.

Approve Disapprove
Congress 31% 65%
Republicans 35% 63%
Democrats 48% 50%
[WP/ABC 7/07;10/06]

U.S. House of Representatives

Currently the Democrats control the House with a 231 to 202 margin. There are currently 2 vacancies (2D) with special elections pending. These seats are not likely to change in terms of party.

There are so far 3 open Democratic seats come the 2008 election. All three are likely to remain in Democratic hands. There is 1 open Republican seat at the end of the term and it is likely to stay Republican.

There are a variety of potentially open seats with most of them currently being held by Republicans. However, many of those potentially open seats will not be open once decisions are made about which of the current House members are going to run for the Senate.

U.S. Senate

There has been little change in the Senate environment during the last couple of months. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) appears to be in better shape.

There is still the possibility that Mike Huckabee (R) will drop his presidential bid and decide to take on Mark Prior (D-AR).

Everyone is waiting the return to the Senate of Tom Johnson (D-SD). The latest information is that he will return after the August recess.

In New Hampshire, folks continue to try and get Jeanne Shaheen to take on John Sununu (R-NH). So far she has repulsed all entreaties.

John Warner (R-VA) is expected to announce shortly after Labor Day whether he will be a candidate for re-election. If he chooses not to run this is a potential pickup for the Democrats.

And, it remains to be seen whether Pete Dominici (R-NM) may be vulnerable.

The U.S. Senate

Democrats 49
Republicans 49
Independents 2(caucus Dem)

Here is how the 33 Senate elections (12 Democratic incumbents, 21 Republican incumbents) look to me at this time (underlining reflects retirement).  (D=Dem incumbent in office, R=GOP incumbent in office, I=Ind. incumbent in office)

Safe Leaning Leaning Safe
Democratic(7) Democratic(5) Toss-Up(1) Republican(5) Republican(15)

Delaware Arkansas Colorado Maine Alabama
Illinois Iowa Minnesota Alaska
Massachusetts Louisiana New Hampshire Georgia
Michigan Montana North Carolina Idaho
New Jersey South Dakota Oklahoma Kansas
Rhode Island Kentucky
West Virginia Mississippi
New Mexico
South Carolina

Democrats Republicans Ind
Seats not up in 2006 37 28 2
Safe in 2006 7 15 0
Leaning in 2006 5 5 0
Total 49 48 2
Toss-ups  1 (1R)

Return to Home Page