Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

March 24, 2008 10:56 PM

2008 Congressional Campaigns

49% of registered voters would prefer a Congress that is controlled by the Democrats as opposed to a Congress controlled by the Republicans.

However, 69% disapprove of the job that the currently Democratic controlled Congress is doing.

When the Republicans took over the Congress in 1994, 67% disapproved of the job that the Congress was doing. [NBC/WSJ 3/08]

The U.S. Senate

  • Democrats 49
  • Republicans 49
  • Independents 2 (caucus Dem)
Democrats are working hard to increase their span of control in the Senate, and there are some possibilities. There are no obvious races in which the Republicans are likely to pick up a seat.

Predictions of the number of new Democratic senators ranges from 1 to 5.

Virginia is the most likely Democratic pickup. Former governor Mark Warner runs well ahead of any Republican discussed as a successor to the retiring John Warner.

Two Democratic Udall's, Mark and Tom, are leading in Colorado and New Mexico respectively. At least in early polling, Tom's position is stronger than Mark's.

Jeanne Shaheen (D) is running strong and ahead in New Hampshire over the incumbent John Sununu ®).

In Alaska, Mark Begich (D), the mayor of Anchorage has decided to take on Republican incumbent Ted Stevens who has suffered from allegations of impropriety.

In Minnesota, Al Franken (D) now has a clean shot at incumbent Norm Coleman ®).

Mary Landrieu (D) seems to be a little stronger in Louisiana, with no significant opponent emerging.

Tim Johnson (D) of South Dakota has now returned to the Senate and has a decent shot at re-election although that is a race that will have to be watched closely by the Democrats.

Democrats continue to talk about the Maine race, with Congressman Tom Allen (D) taking on incumbent Susan Collins ®). This has to be seen as a long shot for Allen. Collins is popular and runs well ahead of Allen in publicly available polls.

Here are 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 Democratic (10) Leaning Democratic (3) Toss-Up (4) Leaning Republican (5) Safe Republican (11)
Arkansas Louisiana Alaska Maine Alabama
Delaware South Dakota Colorado Minesota Georgia
Illinois Virginia New Hampshire  Nebraska Idaho
Iowa    New Mexico North Carolina Kansas
Massachusetts     Oklahoma Kentucky
Michigan       Mississippi
Montana       Oregon
New Jersey       South Carolina
West Virginia       Tennessee

  Democrats Republicans Ind
Seats not up in 2006 37 28 2
Safe in 2006 10 11 0
Leaning in 2006 3 5 0
Total 50 44 2
Toss-ups 4 (4R)    

The U.S. House of Representatives

Democrats 234 (including 1 vacancy)
Republicans 201 (including 3 vacancies)

WW returns again to the Cook Political Report for an assessment ofHouse races.

  8/23/07 3/17/08
Solid Dem 201 198
Likely Dem 17 19
Lean Dem 15 16
Total Dem 233 233
Toss Up 2 10
D 0 1
R 2 9
Lean GOP 15 15
Likely GOP 19 20
Solid GOP 166 159
Total GOP 200 192

Democrats are being careful with their predictions but are quite positive about the prospects of picking up 5-15 seats in the House.

Return to Home Page