The 2010 Election: 8 Days Out


1. The House seems to be holding fine for GOPers. There are a ton of Dem incumbents at or below 45 percent. In a wave election, nearly all of those folks lose. In 2006, there were a ton of GOP incumbents polling between 46 and 48 percent -- many of them lost. Note: if the Republicans only were to win the 48 seats that voted for a Democrat for Congress and McCain for President, they'd pick up 48.  Even if Democratic enthusiasm matches Republican enthusiasm, the game board is tilted toward Republicans.

On the flip side, there is evidence that African Americans are becoming more engaged and more interested in voting. Given that they vote 90 percent or so for Democrats, having their base get more motivated -- even late -- means something.

Of course, most of the House battleground districts have low African American percentages, so it is less of a boon than in other situations.

2. The Senate landscape still tilts toward Republicans -- the polls look particularly strong in Arkansas, North Dakota, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Republicans are also positioned to win four of the five open seats they're defending -- FL, NH, OH, and MO. That leaves eight races -- Republicans needs six of these -- KY, PA, IL, CA, WA, CO (where polls show a Bennet surge of late), WV, and NV. Republicans have an edge in WV and NV among these seats.

3. Republicans are getting nervous about CA; the LA Times poll showing high single digit leads for Boxer and low double digit leads for Brown is a gold standard there.

4. In Florida, Democratic early vote results, particularly among voters with "No Party Affiliation" listed, roughly matches the pace of 2006, which Democrats find encouraging.

5. Republicans think their advantage in the MI GOV race will swing the roughly five competitive CDs in that state their way. No real signs in Texas that Bill White is going to pull off an upset over Rick Perry in the governor's race. GOPers are very nervous about a late Tom Tancredo surge in Colorado.

6. For the White House, the big three Senate races are DE, IL, and WV, along with AK, given Lisa Murkowski's alienation from her party. The thoughts here are on the lame duck session, both because of legislative initiatives like the START treaty (which Obama views as critical to show the world that he can get tough things done) and the legitimacy of the session itself. There's no question that Republicans will question the very idea of a rump session, and you can expect the GOP echo chamber (Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, with assists from Fox News, Palin, etc.) to threaten to punish members of Congress who show up for the lame duck.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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