Thursday, October 05, 2006

Closer To The Brink

In succession to the post I made yesterday about the races for the House, Zogby/Reuters have released a poll about the Senate races up for grabs this year.

Hang on to your hats, folks: In ten battleground states, Dems clearly lead in five (six, if you count Lieberman in Connecticut), and are dead even in two, one of which is a Republican holding. The Democrats need six to take control of the Senate.

The most interesting races are in Montana, where Jon Tester (see sidebar) has a four percent lead over C. "Moremonetary" Burns, the incumbent Republican, as well as Rhode Island, where Sheldon Whitehouse holds a four point lead over moderate Republican incumbent, Lincoln Chaffee.

The Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey Senate races all show the Democrat with a double digit lead over his Republican opponent, including Man-Dog Santorum in Pennsylvania.

Republicans hold clear leads in only two of the ten, but that includes Virginia, where George "Macaca" Allen is up by nine over James Webb, but a whopping 13% of voters have yet to make up their minds between a Republican bigot and a "Republican-lite" bigot.

The most exciting race for me is in Tennessee, where Democratic Congressman Harold Ford is dead even with Republican Bob Corker to replace outgoing Majority Leader Bill Frist, the catkiller. Each has 40%, but almost twenty percent of the electorate has not made up their minds (the smart money sees Ford winning, I think). For an election to be such a toss-up this close to election day in a seat that should by rights be safely Republican, along with the Chaffee and Burns problems, speaks to me that this anger that voters are feeling at Republicans is not limited to the "usual suspect" states, nor to the extremists in the Republican party.

The race I haven't touched on is in Ohio, where incumbent Republican Mike Dewine is deadlocked with challenger Sherrod Brown in a battle of moderates, at 40%. Dewine, although a moderate Republican (in this day and age, Genghis Khan would be a moderate Republican, tho), faces stiff resistance probably as a backlash from the Bob Ney scandal, and the fact that he also took in a princely sum of $1,000 from a group advised by Jack Abramoff. Add to that the Noe scandal (not related to Abramoff, but one involving the investment by the Ohio Worker's Compensation fund in a rather u nconventional investment vehicle, run by members of the state Republican committee, and about $13 million dollars in lost funds), and Dewine is in serious jeopardy. 17% are undecided in Ohio.

Dewine cannot count on the Radical Right's support, since he broke with his party and was one of the Gang Of 14 Republicans and Democrats who brokered the filibuster compromise last year. In effect, he's left stranded on a raft amid the debris of the Abramoff and Noe scandals, without the usual right-wing lifeline that other, more conservative Senators might rely on. I'd say it's a testament to his personality and moderation that Ohioans would even consider him against the backdrop of all these scandals and six years of Republican mishandling of all three branches of government.