Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Handicapping the U.S. Senate Races

John J. Miller, the national political reporter for National Review Online, evaluates the U.S. Senate races. Although an ardent conservative, he is sufficiently realistic to see that the Democrats and Republicans both have their work cut out for them -- and that since his last profile, the Republicans have lost a bit of ground in Virginia, thanks to George Allen's highly publicized campaign gaffes.

As for Ohio, the picture, from a Republican perspective, is a bit grim:
Democratic congressman Sherrod Brown continues to hold a slim lead over Republican senator Mike DeWine, 45 percent to 43 percent, according to Mason-Dixon’s poll of likely voters, released yesterday. It’s hard to bet against the incumbent, but this is a tough year for the GOP in Ohio. Would DeWine be doing better if Republican governor Bob Taft, who is enormously unpopular after an ethically challenged and lackluster tenure, had resigned? TOSS UP
I have a better question: Would DeWine be doing better if the Bush administration had not proven so spectacularly incompetent, or the Republican Congress so blatantly disinterested in any Americans save the wealthiest?

PS - What Miller doesn't say is that the Mason-Dixon poll, cited in his assessment of the Ohio Senate race, places the Democrats within striking distance of capturing the Senate. This is big news, since until recently the Republicans were expected to hold the Senate even if they lost the House of Representatives.

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