Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Finish Line Tape Is Stretched

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Democrats must gain six seats in Tuesday's election to win U.S. Senate control, and they lead in six of the seven most vulnerable Republican-held states, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Thursday.

Democrats lead Republican incumbents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Virginia and Rhode Island, but only the Rhode Island and Pennsylvania races are outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The polls of at least 600 likely voters in each state, taken Oct. 24 to Oct. 30, have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
By state:

CONNECTICUT - Sen. Joseph Lieberman, running as an independent, has a 49 percent to 37 percent lead on Democratic anti-war challenger Ned Lamont, down from a 20-point lead in early October.

MARYLAND - Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin leads Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele by 49 percent to 44 percent in the race.

MONTANA - Democrat Jon Tester holds a 47 percent to 46 percent lead over fast-closing Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, down from a 4-point lead in early October.

NEW JERSEY - Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, considered vulnerable after polls showed a tightening race, leads Republican challenger Tom Kean by 49 percent to 37 percent.

OHIO - Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown leads Republican Sen. Mike DeWine by 49 percent to 42 percent.

PENNSYLVANIA - Democrat Bob Casey, the son of a popular former governor, leads third-ranking Senate Republican Rick Santorum by 48 percent to 40 percent.

RHODE ISLAND - Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a moderate Republican in one of the most Democratic states, trails Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse by 53 percent to 39 percent.

TENNESSEE - In a bitter race for the open seat of retiring Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist, Republican Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, opened up a 53 percent to 43 percent lead on Democratic Rep. Harold Ford.

VIRGINIA - Democratic challenger James Webb holds a slim 45 percent to 44 percent lead over Republican Sen. George Allen, who led by 11 points in the last survey.