WASHINGTON – Weary pollsters got no rest this weekend in their last-ditch efforts to try to predict who's going to run Congress for the last two years of the Bush presidency.
Democrats need six seats in the Senate to take control, and 15 to win the House majority, a possibility that seems well within the realm of possibility, according to polls and oddsmakers.
In a Nov. 4-5 FOXNews/Opinion Dynamics poll of 900 likely voters, those favoring Democratic House candidates outnumbered their Republican counterparts by 13 points. A Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll taken Oct. 26-29 of 1,764 registered voters put Democrats ahead of Republicans 52 percent to 39 percent in generic ballot test. The report also predicts "a very strong Democratic wave."
The Rothenberg Political Report, which issues the widely read tip sheet, predicts Democrats will take between five and seven Senate seats, and easily take the House by winning between 34 and 40 seats, and maybe more. University of Virginia political observer Larry Sabato is predicting that Democrats take 29 House and six Senate seats.
The biggest "ifs" in the Senate continue to be in Missouri and Virginia, with Montana, Tennessee, Maryland and Rhode Island not far behind. House polls continue to show that Republicans are having to throw up major defensive efforts to hang onto seats that in previous years have been easy wins.
• Check Your State, Check Your Race by clicking BALANCE OF POWER dropdown menu above.
Missouri's Mystery Match-up
As has been the case for weeks, new polls show no one knows who's going to win this brawl between Republican Sen. Jim Talent or Democratic challenger and state auditor Claire McCaskill:
— A Mason-Dixon poll taken Nov. 1-3 of 625 likely voters puts McCaskill ahead 46 to 45 percent with 2 percent going to another candidate, possibly Frank Gilmour, the libertarian, or Lydia Lewis, the progressive candidate, and 7 percent undecided.
— McCaskill led Talent by 4 points in the Nov. 1-4 Gallup poll of 710 likely voters 49 to 45 percent. Three percent said they will take another candidate and 4 percent expressed no opinion.
— Rasmussen Reports' Nov. 5 poll of 500 likely voters puts Talent in the lead by 1 percent, 49 to 48 percent, well within the 4.5 percent margin of error.
Republican Sen. George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb traded jabs in weekend polls:
— Nov. 1-3 Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters show Webb ahead of Allen by a scant 1 percentage point, 46-45. Independent candidate Gail Parker got 2 percent with 7 percent undecided and a margin of error of 4 percent.
— Gallup Polls Nov. 1-3 survey of 711 likely voters has Allen in the lead by 3 points, 49-46, although it's within the 5 percent margin of error. Four percent had no opinion.
Tussle in the Old Line State
The fight to fill the seat being vacated by long-time Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes is closer than Democrats had hoped in this state where they outnumber Republicans by nearly 2 to 1. Republican candidate Lt. Gov. Michael Steele has campaigned strong against Baltimore-area Rep. Ben Cardin. The weekend poll appears to put this one in the hands of undecided voters.
— The Nov. 1-3 Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters had Cardin with 47 percent, Steele with 44 percent; Green Party candidate Kevin Zeese was polling at less than 1 percent. Most importantly for the candidates, 9 percent were undecided.
Trying to Rope in Montana
Republican Sen. Conrad Burns is still alive in this one despite ties to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and a number of public miscues. Still the once-strong candidate faces a serious challenge from state Sen. Jon Tester.
— Burns and Tester pulled even with each other in the Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters, at 47 percent. Undecided voters made up 5 percent of the poll, and 1 percent said they would vote for Libertarian candidate Stan Jones. The margin of error was 4 percent.
— Tester led Burns by 2 percentage points, 50-48, in a Nov. 4 Rasmussen Reports survey of 500 likely voters.
— Tester led Burns by 9 percent in the Nov. 1-3 Gallup poll of 734 likely voters: 50 to 41 percent with 6 percent not giving an opinion and a 5 percent error margin.
Small State, Big Stakes
Despite an independent streak and a well-known family, Rhode Island Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee might not be blue enough to keep his job from Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse.
— Chafee was ahead by 1 point in the Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Mason-Dixon poll of 625 likely voters: Chafee had 46 percent to Whitehouse with 45 percent; 9 percent undecided and a margin of error of 4 percent.
— Gallup's Nov. 1-3 poll of 706 likely voters, put Whitehouse ahead 48 to 45 percentwith a 5 percent margin of error.
Digging in in Tennessee
Republican Bob Corker, the former mayor of Chattanooga, continues to pulling away from Democratic candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in the polls after a series of negative ads questioned Ford's character.
— Mason-Dixon, Nov. 1-3, 625 likely voters: Corker, 50 percent; Ford, 38 percent; other candidate; 3 percent; undecided, 9 percent; margin of error, 4 percent.
— Rasumssen Reports' Nov. 4 poll of 500 likely voters puts Corker ahead of Ford by 4 percent, within their 4.5 percent margin of error: Corker, 51 percent; Ford, 47 percent.
— Gallup's Nov. 1-4 poll of 676 likely voters: put Corker at 49 percent, Ford at 46 percent.
New Jersey Leans Left
Although Republican challenger Tom Kean Jr. looked like he could keep this one close, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has basically owned the polls in October. The weekend polls show no difference. Still, undecided voters could make a difference here:
— Mason-Dixon, Nov. 1-3, 625 likely voters: Menendez, 48 percent; Kean, 41 percent; other candidate, 3 percent; undecided, 8 percent; margin of error, 4 percent.
— A Nov. 1-3 Marist College poll of 619 likely voters: Menendez, 49 percent; Kean, 41 percent; undecided, 10 percent; margin of error, 4 percent.
— A Nov. 1-3 Monmouth University poll of 1,086 likely voters: Menendez, 45 percent; Kean, 42 percent; another candidate, 3 percent; undecided, 10 percent; margin of error, 3 percent.
— Quinnipiac University's Oct. 31-Nov. 4 poll of 917 likely voters: Menendez, 48 percent; Kean, 43 percent; undecided, 9 percent; margin of error, 3.2 percent.
— Gallup's Nov. 1-3 poll of 654 likely voters: Menendez, 50 percent; Kean 40 percent; other candidate, 2 percent; no opinion, 7 percent; margin of error, 6 percent.
Connecticut Might Not Be Ready for Change
Sen. Joe Lieberman, is counting on independent support Tuesday to stay ahead of nominated Democrat Ned Lamont, whose political capital from his Aug. 8 upset of Lieberman appears to be waning quickly.
— Lieberman leads Lamont by 11 points in the latest SurveyuUSA poll taken Nov. 1-4 of 652 likely voters: Lieberman, 49 percent; Lamont, 38 percent; Republican candidate Alan Schlesinger, 9 percent; undecided or other candidate, 1 percent; margin of error, 3.9 percent.
— Quinnipiac University's Oct. 31-Nov. 5 poll of 676 likely voters: Lieberman, 50 percent; Lamont, 38 percent; Schlesinger, 8 percent; undecided, 5 percent; margin of error, 3.8 percent.
Pennsylvania Switch Predicted
A Mason-Dixon poll: of 625 likely voters taken Oct. 30-Nov. 2 continues the trend that spells trouble for Republican incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum, who has remained in the Democrats' sights throughout the campaign. Democratic challenger Bob Casey continues to show strength: Casey, 52 percent; Santorum, 39 percent; other candidate, 2 percent; undecided 7 percent; margin of error, 4 percent.
Ohio Incumbent In Trouble
In another state squatting under the weight of the 11th hour ad blitz, polls show incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine, the incumbent, trailing Democrat Sherrod Brown:
— An Oct. 22-30 Opinion Consultants poll of 800 likely voters: Brown 51 percent to DeWine's 44 percent. Undecided voters and margin of error were not immediately reported.
— An Oct. 24-Nov. 3 poll of 1,541 registered voters by the Columbus Dispatch showed 62 percent favored Brown and 38 percent DeWine.
— Mason Dixon polls surveyed 625 likely voters between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, a poll that found Brown favored by a 6-point margin: 50 to 44 percent with independent candidate Richard Duncan at 1 percent; undecided at 5 percent; and a margin of error at 4 percent.
In the House ...
Another Take on New Hampshire
The two House races on the line in New Hampshire are leaning Republican, but Democrats have momentum according to the most recent Research 2000 poll taken Nov. 1-2 of 300 likely voters in each district.
The 1st District breakdown, according to the survey: Republican Rep. Jeb Bradley, 48 percent; Democratic candidate Carol Shea-Porter, 40 percent; undecided 12 percent.
The 2nd District breakdown, according to the survey: Republican Rep. Charles Bass, 47 percent; Democrat Paul Hodes, 46 percent; Libertarian candidate Ken Blevens, 2 percent; margin of error, 6 percent.
Foley Fallout in New York's 26th District?
Republican Rep. Tom Reynolds is hanging onto a slight lead over Democrat Jack Davis in a race that nearly had been locked up before the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, in which Reynolds is accused of not acting fast enough after learning of Foley's advances on male pages.
The Nov. 1-3 SurveyUSA poll of 470 likely voters showed Reynolds with 50 percent, Davis with 46 percent and 4 percent undecided. The margin of error is 4.6 percent.
Challenge in New York's 20th District
Polls in New York's 20th District are showing a slight favor toward the Democratic challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand, in race that put Republican Rep. John Sweeney well ahead in early polls.
The Nov. 1-2 Siena Research Institute poll of 628 likely voters, by the numbers: Gillibrand, 46 percent; Sweeney, 43 percent with a 3.9 percent margin of error.
Minnesota 6th District Favors GOP
A Nov. 1-3 SurveyUSA poll of 698 likely voters puts Republican Michele Bachmann ahead of Democrat Patty Wetterling by 7 points in the race to replace Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy, who is running for the Senate. According to the poll, Bachmann had 49 percent, Wetterling had 42 percent. Independent candidate John Binkowski had 7 percent and undecided were 2 percent. The margin of error was 3.8 percent.