Dizzying Polls in Tennessee, Virginia, Connecticut House Race

New polls show Senate races could be going round 'n' round until the music stops on Nov. 7.

In the game of House musical chairs, Democrats need to pick up 15 seats from Republicans to take the majority. In the Senate, the GOP will lose the majority if they give up a net six seats to Democrats.

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Ford Tumbles off Tennessee Rocky Top

A new Opinion Research Corp. poll shows Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. with an 8-point lag behind Republican Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker. The poll conducted Oct. 26-29 of 541 likely voters has Corker with a 52-44 percent lead over Ford, who has represented the state's 9th District since 1996. While the poll didn't test for undecided voters, 3 percent said they had "no opinion," and the survey's margin of error was 4 percent.

A Rasmussen poll taken Monday showed Corker with a 2 percent lead over Ford: 49-47 percent. It quizzed 500 likely voters.

While Corker had led in two of the last three surveys on the race, Ford had chipped away at the lead until tying Corker at 48 percent in an Oct. 22-24 SurveyUSA poll.

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Changes in Old Dominion?

Incumbent Virginia Sen. George Allen showed more weakness in the latest Opinion Research Corp. poll of 597 likely voters conducted Oct. 26-29. Allen took 46 percent compared to Democratic challenger Jim Webb, who took 50 percent; 4 percent were undecided. The two are in a statistical dead heat due to the survey's 4 percent margin of error.

The former Navy Secretary for President Reagan, Webb may have taken a deeper breath after reading the Oct. 29 Rasmussen poll, which had him leading by 5 points over Allen.

Since Oct. 20, Webb has led Allen in three of four polls by a margin between of 3 to 5 points. In an Oct. 22-25 SurveyUSA poll, Allen led Webb by 3 points.

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Getting 'Dirty' in the Garden State

A Quinnipiac University poll taken Oct. 23-29 shows New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez added slightly to his lead. In this battle of attrition, Menendez had a 49-44 percent head start over the Republican Tom Kean Jr. In an Oct. 12 Quinnipiac poll the split was 49-45 percent for favoring Menendez. Undecided voters could play a factor here with 6 percent saying they don't know who'll they'll mark on the ballot, and 12 percent saying they might still change their minds. The poll looked at 887 likely voters and had a 3.3 percent margin of error.

"Boo" factor? Voters say 5 to 1 that the race is "dirty."

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Show Me State? Numbers Not Holding up Bargain

Two polls out of Missouri only show that Republican Sen. Jim Talent, and Democratic state Auditor Claire McCaskill are locked in a tough struggle.

A Rasmussen poll taken Sunday of 500 likely voters puts McCaskill ahead of Talent by a single point: 48-47 percent, with 5 percent undecided.

In the Oct. 26-29 Opinion Research poll released Tuesday, Talent and McCaskill were tied at 49 percent each, with 1 percent with "no opinion." The poll of 565 likely voters had a 4 percent margin of error.

An Oct. 23-26 Research 2000 poll put the two tied at 47 percent.

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And in the House ... Connecticut 4th District: Bridgeport Over Troubled Water

Republican Rep. Chris Shays, despite having one of the least pro-President Bush records in Congress, might be in trouble in the Constitution State. The Oct. 26-28 Research 2000 poll for the Manchester Journal Inquirer and The (New London) Day of 600 likely voters showed Democrat Diane Farrell with a 4-point lead over Shays — 47-43 percent. But this race is statistically tied with a 4 percent margin of error. The undecided count also stands at 10 percent.

Shays and Farrell have been trading poll numbers steadily since August. Shays was looking solid with a 9-point lead in a poll that wrapped just two days before Research 2000's. An Oct. 16-22 University of Connecticut poll had the two tied. A Reuters/Zogby International poll conducted Sept 25-Oct. 2 had Farrell on top by 5 points.

Shays has some things working in his favor. Republicans could be motivated to come to the polls to make sure Ned Lamont doesn't defeat Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Shays' fundraising was stronger than Farrell's in the most recent reporting period.

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