I’d be surprised if Obama wins by double digits, which is what some of the polling suggests. Traditionally, Democrats are overestimated in the polls, though this year, it’s hard to tell. I suspect there will be a moderate “Bradley effect,” but not in the way it’s usually described. I think Obama will underperform in some areas because white people who rarely vote will come out just to vote against the black guy. But I also think he’ll help turn out a historic number of black and younger voters–including black people coming out just to vote for the black guy.
In the end, I think Obama will win the popular vote by 4-6 percent. My electoral map is closer than many other predictions I’ve seen, too. I think Obama wins by 106.
The Democrats will pick up nine seats in the Senate. With Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, that’ll put them right at 60 seats, the amount needed to break a filibuster. Ironically, that would make McCain endorser but Democratic caucuser Joe Lieberman rather powerful. The Dems may have to nix their plans to punish him for the McCain endorsement and let him keep his plum committee assignments, just to keep him from defecting. The other irony is that a paper-thin filibuster-proof majority might also empower the conservative caucus of Blue Dog Democrats, which may help keep the more radical wing of the party in line. Let’s hope so. I’ll guess that the Dems will also pick up about 30 seats in the House.
State by state:
Alabama: Senate: Jeff Sessions will easily win reelection. President: McCain by about 20 points. Should lose but won’t: Spencer Bachus, Internet guru.
Alaska: Senate: Alaskans love their pork. They stuck by Ted Stevens right up until his conviction. Since then, he’s lost about 20 points in the polls. Challenger Mark Begich wins, and the Dems pick up a seat. President: Before the Palin pick, Alaska was polling uncomfortably close for McCain. He’ll win by 30, now. Should lose and will: Goodbye Don Young, you corrupt ignoramus.
Arizona: President: McCain, though he’s polling surprisingly close in his home state. Should lose but won’t: Is there any way we can make J.D. Hayworth lose again?
Arkansas: Senate: Mark Pryor is running unopposed. Here’s hoping Blue Dog Democrats like him keep the rest of the party in check. They’re going to have enormous power in a Senate that’s either filibuster-proof, or close to it. President: McCain, easily. Should lose but won’t: All of the bastards. Not a single incumbent Congressman in Arkansas is facing an opponent from the other major party. Yay, campaign finance reform!
California: President: Obama by about 18 points. Should lose but won’t: With 50+ reps, it’s hard to choose just one. But Maxine Waters has brandished a particularly ugly sort of politics over the years. On the other side of the aisle, several months ago I had a phone interview with hardened drug warrior Dan Lungren. I was asking if he thought the DOJ should crack down on DEA agents who mishandle their informants. He responded that that that wouldn’t work, because the DEA isn’t part of DOJ. Um, wrong. I corrected him. Twice. He insisted he was right. His spokesman later emailed me to say Lungren “misspoke.” All three times he said it. And this is the guy who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and the House Subcommittee on Crime. For that alone he should lose.
Colorado: Senate: What is it with Udalls in the west? Mark Udall should pick up a second seat for the Dems here. President: Colorado has been consistently polling for Obama for about a month, now. Should lose, but won’t: It’s too bad Tom Tancredo is retiring before he can suffer the humiliation of defeat. I’ll go with Christian soldier Marilyn Musgrave, who in addition to not being particularly bright, has called banning gay marriage the “most important issue of our time.”
Connecticut: President: Obama, handily. Should lose, and might: Rep. Chris Shays. Shays has a reputation for being “thoughtful” because he makes a public show of agonizing over big, important votes before casting them. Then, almost without fail, he ends up voting the wrong way. He’s in a very tight race right now. This may be the year he goes down.
Delaware: President: Obama. Senate: Biden, by a mile. Should lose, but won’t: Biden, by a mile.
Florida: President: Our first toss-up state. I’m giving it to McCain. He’s polling within the margin of error, and McCain’s age, his dominance along the pan-handle, and the fact that he’s sent Lieberman down there to talk up the retired Jewish vote I think will be enough for him to eek it out. Should lose but won’t: The race-baiting, impeached ex-judge, Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings.
Georgia: Senate: If there’s one bastard politician that most deserves to lose this year, it’s incumbent GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. In addition to being a general moral right southern Republican, the guy had the gall to portray Max Cleland, his opponent six years ago as unpatriotic and cowardly. Cleland left three limbs in Vietnam. Chambiss got a draft deferment. The hell with him. Chambliss opponent Jim Martin has closed fast in the last month. He hasn’t overtaken Chambliss yet, but Chambliss is consistently polling 3-4 points below the magic 50 percent mark. Makes this one a tough call. Call it wishful thinking, but I say Chambliss gets beat. Dems pick up their third seat in the Senate. President: McCain, though it’ll be a lot closer than the GOP would have predicted six months ago. Also deserves to lose, but probably won’t: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is the fool who made a big stink about posting the Ten Commandments in the U.S. Capitol. When Stephen Colbert then asked him to name all ten commandments in a televised interview, he came up seven short. He’s also the idiot who used the racist modifier “uppity” to describe Barack Obama. On the other side of the aisle, I recently heard Rep. Hank Johnson speak. He didn’t strike me as terribly bright. He’s also your typical Democrat who denounces the disproportionate effect the drug war has on blacks, but supports federal programs like the Byrne Grant, which are a big cause of said disproportionate effect. Just can’t bring himself to give up the pork.
Hawaii: President: Native son Obama should win comfortably. Should lose but won’t: Both of Hawaii’s senators have been in office way too long. Neither is up for reelection, and neither would likely be in any jeopardy if they were.
Idaho: Senate: Even in a likely great year for the Dems, even after the Larry Craig debacle, even though party nominee Jim Risch called President Bush “one of our greatest presidents,” Risch will keep the foot-tapper’s seat in the R’s column. That’s just Idaho. President: McCain, by about 30. Should lose, and just might: Rep. Bill Sali, who’s own state party chair called him “an absolute idiot.” Polls are close right now.
Illinois: Senate: Dick Durbin, in a wash. Durbin is horrible in a lot of ways. But he’s at least consistently good on terrorism/civil liberties issues. President: Obama, by 25. Should win, and probably will: Rep. Luis Guitierrez, who deserves another term solely for getting into a physical confrontation with the detestable Tom Tancredo over immigration.
Indiana: President: Indiana hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. I have fond feelings for my home state, and it pains me to say this, but I just don’t see the state breaking that trend to elect the country’s first black president. There’s still a lot of racial ugliness in Indiana. Obama has been polling well here, and that’s heartening (it’s heartening because of the racial stuff, not because of Obama’s policies). But I think McCain will win, by about 5. I’d be pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Should lose, and actually might: The heartless, loathesome, horrible excuse for human being, Rep. Mark Souder. The strident drug warrior is actually minus-three in the latest polling. It would be the highlight of my election night to see him lose.
Iowa: Senate: New deal liberal, avowed Nanny Stater, and ethanol and farm subsidies pig Tom Harkin will easily retain his seat. President: Obama, by about seven. Should lose, but won’t: Harkin.
Kansas: Senate: GOP incumbent Pat Roberts will unfortunately retain his seat. As former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Roberts completely dropped the ball on Congressional oversight of White House surveillance and wiretapping abuses. President: McCain. Should lose, but won’t: Roberts.
Kentucky: Senate: Knocking off Mitch McConnell would be a huge coup for the Dems. I have mixed feelings about McConnell. He’s taken some valiant stands in opposition to expanding Medicare and campaign finance reform, and in favor of Social Security privatization. But he’s been awful on other issues. And he’s the head of the GOP in the Senate. His opponent has pulled within single-digits, but I think McConnell will hold on. President: McCain by about 10. Should lose, but won’t: Esquire describes GOP incumbent Rep. Harold Rogers as “a cultural conservative with populist economic leanings.” That’s two strikes in my book. Unfortunately, he’s running unopposed.
Louisiana: Senate: The GOP has been targeting Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu for more than a year. Not gonna’ happen. Dems will hold. President: McCain. Should lose, and might: Uh, it’s gotta’ be Rep. William “Cold Cash” Jefferson.
Maine: Senate: Moderate GOP incumbent Susan Collins will sail. President: Obama by double digits. Should win, but won’t: I don’t really know enough about Maine politics to have a nominee, here.
Maryland: President: Obama, by 25. Should win, but won’t: Anti-war, pro-limited government GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest. Which is why the GOP bounced him in the primary. Note to McCain/Palin: This is what a Republican “maverick” looks like.
Massachusetts: Senate: John Kerry will easily retain his seat; remain bitter about 2004. President: Obama. Let’s say, oh, 40 points. Should lose, but won’t: It would probably be a healthy thing of Massachusetts had at least one member of its congressional delegation who isn’t a Democrat.
Michigan: Senate: Carl Levin will win handily. President: Michigan’s been polling for Obama pretty consistently for about a month. Should lose, but won’t: John Dingell has been in office way, way too long.
Minnesota: Senate: I’m not a huge Norm Coleman fan, but I think it’s a good thing that he seems to be pulling ahead of Al Franken, whose entire candidacy is, well, a joke. And like most of Franken’s newer material, it’s not a very funny one. I think Coleman pulls it out. President: McCain once had designs on the Lutheran north. Not anymore. Obama wins by 10 here. Should lose, and just might: Rep. Michelle “Joe McCarthy’s Got Nothing on Me” Bachman.
Mississippi Senate: In the first race, GOP incumbent Thad Cochran should have no problem winning reelection. In the special election to replace retiring nincompoop Trent Lott, I think the Dems will pick up their fourth seat with popular former governor Ronnie Musgrove. Musgrove would be a Republican in any other state. If the Dems get close to a filibuster-proof majority, he’ll have some bargaining power, and could become quite powerful for a freshman senator. President: McCain by about 15. Should win, but may not: Cross your fingers that Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, Jr. holds on for reelection.
Missouri: President: McCain was holding strong in Missouri for a long time. Obama seems to have overtaken him in just the last few weeks. St. Louis precincts are typically late with their returns, so we may not know which way this state goes until well into Wednesday. I think it’ll go for Obama. Should lose, but probably won’t: House GOP Whip Roy Blunt. The Abramoff wing of the Republican Party needs to get tossed out on its collective tuckus.
Montana : Senate: Max Baucus should retain this seat for the Dems, by about 40 points. President: Montana looked like a tossup several months ago, then looked firmly in the McCain camp, and now looks like a tossup again. In Sen. John Tester and Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the state has a recent history of electing Democrats. But they’re Western, libertarianish Democrats. Obama isn’t one of those. I think McCain wins, but it’ll be fairly close. Not sure if he should win, but he probably will: I’ve heard GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg described as a libertarian. His VoteSmart page doesn’t lend much credibility to that.
Nebraska: Senate: Mike Johanns will keep this seat for the GOP, by a comfortable margin. President: Will likely give McCain his largest margin of victory this side of Utah. Should win, but won’t: Bring back Chuck Hagel, please.
Nevada: President: Nevada broke for Obama a month ago, and hasn’t looked back. Should win, and probably will: GOP incumbent Dean Heller seems like a pretty independent-minded guy.
New Hampshire: Senate: It’s too bad GOP Sen. John Sununu will get punished for the excesses and faults of his party. But it looks like he’ll go down today. Dems pick up Senate seat number five. President: New Hampshire also moved firmly to the Obama camp weeks ago. It’ll stay there today. Should win, but won’t: Sununu.
New Jersey: Senate: The ancient Frank Lautenberg will unfortunately win reelection. President: On a very good night for the GOP, New Jersey might be in play. Tonight, it won’t be. Should lose, but won’t: Lautenberg.
New Mexico: Senate: Another man named Udall will win, bringing the number of Dem pickups to six. President: I heard NPR lament about a month ago that Obama was having a hard time connecting with Hispanics here. He’s polling 5-7 points ahead of McCain, now. He’ll win by about 3. Should lose, but won’t: Too….many….Udalls….
New York: President: Obama. Should lose, but won’t: It’s time to send Charlie Rangel’s corrupt ass back to the Bronx.
North Carolina: Senate: Goodbye, Elizabeth Dole. Your political obituary will include your assault on federalism with the federal 21 drinking age, and, during your tenure at the Department of Transportation, mandating those rear-window brake thingies. And that headset gimmick you did at the ’96 Republican National Convention. Dems move to +7 in the Senate.President: North Carolina will turn blue…someday. I just can’t see it happening this year. McCain, but not by much. Should win, but won’t: Libertarian GOP hopeful B.J. Lawson. Hope there’s more in this guy’s future.
North Dakota: President: McCain. But it’ll be closer than anyone would have expected a year ago. Should lose, but won’t: I have no idea. North Dakota? Anyone?
Ohio: President: Probably the toughest call in the country. Obama’s up by about three in the polls. Is that enough? Polls generally overestimate support for Democrats. I think Obama wins, but it could be a late night in Ohio. Should lose, but won’t: John Boehner. Out with your over-smoked, over-tanned hide.
Oklahoma: Senate: Sadly, GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe will comfortably win reelection. President: McCain’s still dominating in the plains. Should lose, but won’t: The fundamentalist, science-hating, Muslim-bashing, war-mongering, none-too-bright incumbent Sen. Inhofe.
Oregon: Senate: GOP Incumbent Gordon Smith isn’t so bad. But it’s not a good year to be a Republican in a blue state. The Democrats get their eighth pickup, and move dangerously close to filibuster-proofing the upper chamber. President: Obama. Should win, but probably won’t: Smith, if only because he’s fairly independent, and because the Dems shouldn’t get a blank check in Congress.
Pennsylvania: President: McCain thinks he has a chance here. He’s wrong. Obama wins by at least 5 points. Should lose, and just might: Washington would be just a little less horrible without Democratic Rep. John Murtha.
Rhode Island: Senate: Democratic incumbent Jack Reed will win in a walk. President: Obama. Should win, and will: Rep. Jim Langevin has an inspiring story.
South Carolina: Senate: Ugh. Six more years of Lindsey Graham. President: Obama’s dip below the Mason-Dixon line won’t get this far. McCain by double digits. Should win, and just might: If the GOP knows what’s good for them, they’ll put South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on the fast track to the 2012 nomination.
South Dakota: Senate: Tim Johnson will keep this seat for the Dems. President: Obama made some headway in big sky states, but not quite enough to win here. McCain. Should lose, but won’t: South Dakota is sorta’ like the North Dakota of the southern Dakotas.
Tennessee: Senate: Lamar! will win by a comfortable margin. President: Tennessee bridges Appalachia to the deep south. Those are two of Obama’s weakest areas. It’ll go big for McCain. Should lose, but won’t: Culture-warring, jingoistic GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn.
Texas: Senate: Law and order party man John “Box Turtle” Cornyn deserves to lose. He won’t. President: Mccain, by about 15. Should lose, but won’t: Let’s be bipartisan, here: Perennial moron Sheila Jackson-Lee, and right-wing Abramoffite Pete Sessions.
Utah: President: McCain. By 40? Should win, and will: Incumbent Rob Bishop is a Utah Republican who voted against reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.
Vermont: President: Obama. Should lose, but won’t: Socialist Bernie Sanders isn’t up for reelection. Would be nice if there was some way he could lose, anyway.
Virginia: Senate: In a battle of former governors, Mark Warner will throttle Jim Gilmore. It’s too bad Warner didn’t run for president. The Democrats get their ninth pickup, against no losses. President: Like Indiana, Virginia hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964. Unlike Indiana, it will vote for one this year. The hugely popular Warner has been stumping hard for Obama. And unlike Indiana, Virginia has been trending blue for several elections, now. Should lose: Where to begin? Most all of the state’s congressional delegation stinks. There’s Bob Goodlatte, who led the charge in the House to ban Internet gambling. There’s the bigot Virgil Goode. There’s anti-alcohol crusader Frank Wolf, who’d likely bring back prohibition if he could. And then there’s my congressman, the intemperate, corrupt, all-around awful Jim Moran. Oh well. At least Tom Davis is retiring.
Washington: President: Obama by 4-5 points. Should lose, but won’t: You can thank Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen for the federal restrictions on buying cold medication. He co-sponsored the bill.
West Viginia: Senate: Jay Rockefeller will easily win reelection. President: This one’s a tough call. But given his struggle in the primaries here, I don’t see Obama carrying this state. McCain by 1-2 points. Should lose, but won’t: Corrupt, earmark-loving Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohand. Sadly, he’s running unopposed.
Wisconsin: President: Another state McCain had hoped would be competitive. It won’t be. Obama by about 8. Should lose, but won’t: Jim Sensenbrenner. Went from skepticism about the PATRIOT Act to fighting like hell for its renewal. He’s also the biggest drug warrior in the House this side of Mark Souder.
Wyoming: Senate: GOP incumbent Mike Enzi will coast. President: As will John McCain. Should lose, but won’t: As punishment for launching Dick Cheney’s political career, I think Wyoming should lose its lone seat in the House of Representatives for . . . let’s say five years.