Sabato’s Crystal Ball: A “Deep Blue Sea” in the 2006 Midterms?
Just a few weeks ago, President Bush and the GOP appeared to be staging a remarkable comeback that would have enabled the Republicans to retain their congressional majorities. The Foley scandal and the deteriorating situation in Iraq have changed all that, and it is clear that as of mid-October, there is a Democratic gale a blowin’. We all hope that Samuel L. Jackson isn’t eaten by a shark again, but it’s looking like the GOP’s worst fear might be about to surface.
Democrats are moving up–some rapidly–in a wide range of competitive contests for the House, the Foley storm’s chamber of direct impact. For the first time this year, your cautious Crystal Ball now projects a Democratic majority of somewhere between 221 and 225 seats (with 218 needed for control). In fact, to reflect just how precipitously many GOP-held seats have drifted from safe harbor, we have had to jettison not only the “Dirty Thirty” but now the “Ferocious Forty” as well. In their place, meet the “Ferocious FIFTY” theaters of battle, 42 of which are currently held by Republicans. It is indeed noteworthy that since last month’s update, the Crystal Ball can now count an additional ten House districts as truly competitive (rated either as a Toss-up or “leaning” towards one party in our chart below).
In the Senate we believe that control of the body is up for grabs, with Democrats nearly sure to win 15 out of the 33 total seats up this year….