First, we have to give a LOT of kudos to MSNBC. Today they focused their entire programming day to cover battleground races across the country, mostly in the Senate. They also had lengthy discussions about the U.S. House.
The general tone of the day was that the Democrats are on the brink of taking back not only the U.S. House, but the Senate as well. The rationale is that the War in Iraq has nationalized the election in a way not seen since the 1994 Republican Revolution. Add to that President Bush’s low approval ratings and gloomy economic conditions (high gas prices, shrinking housing bubble, etc), and the conditions are ripe for a dramatic change.
The Cook Political Report’s Competitive House Race Chart (PDF) has 35 Republican seats as toss-ups or leaning, with Florida’s 22nd District in that mix. The Democrats only need 15 seats to take back the House. The talking heads seem to believe that “Speaker Pelosi” is almost a foregone conclusion.
The New York Times 2006 Election Guide, in addition to being a cool interactive web toy, gives a good breakdown of the Senate races. They have 47 safe Republicans, with three more leaning to the GOP; the other half of the races have 39 safe Democrats, 8 seats leaning to the Democrats, and 3 that are currently listed as toss-up. If the Dems win the tossups and those leaning go the way they are listed, then we have a 50-50 Senate.
Now there are two ways Republicans can handle this. If the mood of the electorate is such that Republican leadership is being rejected across the country, then GOP candidates need to show that they are a new breed – or rather an old breed of fiscal conservatives. We here at the State of Sunshine have talked this issue about before, and are wary about the general elections.
It can even impact Florida… but that’s another post.