The WaPo rallies it base with optimism for Dems but buries what might have been a lead on another day, so I will bury it too (But for the impatient, paragraph five notes a Republican surge in national polls). Here we go:
Democrats, on the Offensive, Could Gain Both Houses
By Dan Balz and David S. Broder
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 5, 2006; A01
Two days before a bitterly fought midterm election, Democrats have moved into position to recapture the House and have laid siege to the Senate, setting the stage for a dramatic recasting of the power structure in Washington for President Bush's final two years in office, according to a Washington Post analysis of competitive races across the country.
Can't you feel the excitement!
In the battle for the House, Democrats appear almost certain to pick up more than the 15 seats needed to regain the majority. Republicans virtually concede 10 seats, and a split of the 30 tossup races would add an additional 15 to the Democratic column.
That is similar to other estimates, including that of the ebullient NY Times. However, the next paragraph on the Senate hits a speedbump:
The Senate poses a tougher challenge for Democrats, who need to gain six seats to take control of that chamber. A three-seat gain is almost assured, but they would have to find the other three seats from four states considered to have tossup races -- Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri and Montana.
Tennessee a toss-up? Not per the Times, which has it leaning Red, and not per recent polls, in which Corker has moved ahead by 8-10 points. But here is the bombshell from paragraph five:
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows some narrowing in the Democratic advantage in House races. The survey gives the Democrats a six-percentage-point lead nationally among likely voters asked which party they prefer for Congress. It was 14 points two weeks ago, but this remains a larger advantage than they have had in recent midterm elections.
The Reps have gone from down fourteen to down six in just two weeks, we had a great employment report on Friday, and the WaPo thinks this is over? Bring it on!
MORE: OK, don't bring too much - my official, unchanging, unerring forecast is that the Dems win the House and miss on the Senate.
STILL MORE: Yes, paragraph four caused some bemusement as well:
In governors' races, Democrats are likely to emerge with the majority for the first time in 12 years. Five states are almost certain to switch parties, including the key battlegrounds of New York, Massachusetts and Ohio. Four races are too close to call, but only one of those seats -- in Wisconsin -- is held by a Democrat.
New York and Massachusetts are now "key battlegrounds"? Sure, it was fun having Republican governors there, but I thought that the phrase "battleground states" was generally reserved for the swing states in the Presidential elections, like Ohio.
Well, they are typing on a mad adrenaline rush, so whatever.
UPDATE: Pew pollsters get a similar result and headline it:
Republicans Cut Democratic Lead in Campaign's Final Days
Democrats Hold 47%-43% Lead Among Likely Voters
A nationwide Pew Research Center survey finds voting intentions shifting in the direction of Republican congressional candidates in the final days of the 2006 midterm campaign. The new survey finds a growing percentage of likely voters saying they will vote for GOP candidates. However, the Democrats still hold a 48% to 40% lead among registered voters, and a modest lead of 47%-43% among likely voters.
The narrowing of the Democratic lead raises questions about whether the party will win a large enough share of the popular vote to recapture control of the House of Representatives. The relationship between a party's share of the popular vote and the number of seats it wins is less certain than it once was, in large part because of the increasing prevalence of safe seat redistricting. As a result, forecasting seat gains from national surveys has become more difficult.