Monday, November 06, 2006

Rasmussen: 48 All & 4 Toss-Ups in Senate

As campaigning draws to a close today, Rasmussen Reports has filed its final Senate tally, which shows toss-up elections in Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Virginia. Democrats must win three of those four states to take control of the Senate. Most pollsters give Tester the edge in Montana, where incumbent Conrad Burns has largely fought a campaign against himself - embroiled in the Ambramoff scandal and committing one political faux pas after another.

That leaves Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia. Polls indicate that James Webb, who consistently leads Virginia Senator George Allen by a few points, has the best chance for victory. Tennessee polls are all over the place - some show Bob Corker with a 12-point lead over Democrat Harold Ford, while others give him an edge of only a few points. Our sense is that circumstances on the ground favor Ford. Corker was not the Republican base's choice in the primary, and GOP turnout may be lower than most pollsters expect. In Missouri, McCaskill and Talent continue to run neck and neck, meaning the battle will come down to GOTV, which probably gives Talent the advantage.

It would be pointless to make predictions about these three races. If one was flipping a coin, the chances it would come up heads at least twice in three tosses are 50%. Less than a year ago, most pollsters gave Democrats virtually no chance of taking control of the Senate, and most people would have been content just to see Rick Santorum's despicable career ended. It's a measure of how much the political climate has changed that today Democrats have an even chance of winning control.

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