Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

November 5, 2009 11:54 AM

2010 Congressional Campaigns

In July, Gallup reported a generic (if the vote were held today) ballot in favor of the Democrats by 50% to 44%. In early October, that margin declined by 2 points 46% to 44%.

This was a substanial fall from the 54% - 39% Democratic margin just before the 2008 election. This is also down from a 6 point margin in July.

Based on the historical relationship between the final pre-election results in the generic ballot just before the election and the final results of the election, Democrats need to be getting 48-49% of the vote in order to achieve at least a 218 vote majority in the House.

In its late October survey, NBC/WSJ found 65% disapproving of the job being done by Congress, with 24% approving.

A Gallup survey earlier in the month found 16% of Independents approving of the work being done by Congress.

The U.S. Senate

There have been no significant changes in the contests for the U.S. Senate in the last month. Increasingly, odds are that the Democrats will not be able to maintain their 60 vote position.

  • Democrats 58
  • Republicans 40
  • Independents 2 (caucus Dem)
Here is how the 38 Senate elections (19 Democratic incumbents, 19 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 (4) Toss-Up (10) Leaning Republican (3) Safe Republican (11)
Hawaii Arkansas
Connecticut Florida
Indiana California Delaware Louisiana
Maryland Colorado
Illinois No. Carolina Arizona
No. Dakota
Kentucky   Georgia
New York (A) Missouri
New York (B)
Oregon New Hampshire   Kansas
Vermont   Ohio   Oklahoma
Washington   Pennsylvania   So. Carolina
Wisconsin   Texas   So. Dakota

  Democrats Republicans Ind
Seats not up in 2010 39 21 2
Safe in 2010 10 11 0
Leaning in 2010 4 3 0
Total 53 35 2
Toss-ups 10 (5R / 5D)    

The U.S. House of Representatives

There is a general pattern of a new President's political Party losing seats in the House in the mid-term election following his inauguration. This was true of Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton. The only exception was the first mid- term of election of Bush II in which Democrats lost 7 seats.

Most observers who WW respects are quite certain that Obama's first mid- term election will not be an exception to this pattern.

While the total number of Democratic seats in the House has grown from 255 in April to 258 today, the number of seats that the Cook Political Report rates as solidly Democratic has dropped from 204 to 180. The total number of solidly Republican seats has grown from 147 to 150.

  • Democrats 256
  • Republicans 176
  • Vacancy 3

4/1/09 8/15/09 10/6/09 11/5/09
Total Dem 255 256 256 258
Solid Dem 204 195 183 180
Likely Dem 29 37 44 45
Lean Dem 20 17 20 21
Toss-Up 2 9 11 15
     D 2 7 9 12
     R 0 2 2 3
Lean GOP 6 9 10 9
Likely GOP 26 27 21 15
Solid GOP 147 138 143 150
Total GOP 179 176 176 177

[As always, thanks to the Cook Political Report, which is the best when it comes to analysis of Congressional races (as well as other electoral matters)].

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