Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Larry Sabato's Final Predictions

THE SENATE: +6 Dems = 51D, 49R

Despite hard-fought campaigning in every battleground state up until the very end, the overall Senate picture has not changed much since our Thursday assessment. The Crystal Ball still sees 4, 5 or 6 seats going to the Democrats, resting party control of the Senate squarely on the edge of the butter knife.

The Democrats must win all the close ones and capture all the toss-ups to gain control, which is very tough to do. The safe bet is that Democrats will gain no more than five seats, and thus the GOP will remain in charge by a fingernail of the upper chamber of Congress. But what the heck? We'll live dangerously. We think the Democrats may replicate their feat from 1986 (the sixth year election of Ronald Reagan's Presidency) and capture just enough seats to take over. This is our least confident prediction. We believe the Democrats have excellent chances to win the House and take a majority of the Governorships, while a thin Senate majority has odds no better than 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.

Contests remain extremely close in the "Threshold Three"--Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia--with close races still possible in Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where Democrats hold narrow leads. Our outlooks have not changed, save to tilt Tennessee towards the Republicans. When we add together all our predictions, Democrats pick up six seats, sufficient to wrest control from the GOP. Here our our final picks:


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