With less than one week to go before voters line up at precincts across the nation to cast their ballots for congress, candidates and their surrogates are blasting the airwaves and rallies because in races this tight, every vote counts. But a new poll out by Gallup found the widest enthusiasm gap among voters since the 1994 wave swept 54 Democrats out of office in the House of Representatives.
Bill Clinton was president then, and is trying this year to prevent a repeat of 1994. He’s barnstorming across the country for embattled Democrats. By November 2, Election Day Clinton will have made more than 100 campaign stops. Vice-President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama continue their efforts as well.
Republicans have Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain out on the stump in places like California and West Virginia. And Sarah Palin continues to put her muscle behind Tea Party candidates. She’s endorsed 56 of them so far.
Early voting numbers are in, and belie the predictions that Republicans will crush Democrats. More Democrats than Republicans have cast early votes. Michelle Obama has taped a personal video appeal to Democrats asking them to vote early.
Watch out for the wave … there are so many too close to call races one week out that it’s impossible to go through them all. But polling shows they continue to edge out Democrats for control of the lower chamber of congress.
Conservative Democratic incumbents all over the country are at risk. This year, many voters angry with Washington are wondering why they should give any kind of incumbent Democrat, conservative or liberal, another chance. Many of the embattled conservative Democrats are from the South, such as congressman Gene Taylor from Mississippi. He’s gone public to say he voted for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.
The first term congressman told his local newspaper in Biloxi, Mississippi, “Better the devil you know.”
Taylor is one of the most conservative Democrats in the House from one of the most conservative states in the country. Despite his overtures to Republican voters, polls show he may not be able to convince voters who see him as a mirror image of the man he didn’t vote for to lead his party and the nation.
Polls show the races are tightening (as if they could get any tighter). Democratic candidates appear to be closing the gap in places like Pennsylvania and Colorado.
While their numbers may be on the move, there isn’t much time for them to move into a comfortable lead. But Democrats still seem likely to keep control of the Senate.
While Illinois is a Democratic stronghold, it could end up with a Republican governor, senator and lose 1-3 seats in the House.
President Obama’s former seat from Illinois is being contested by Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk. Giannoulias’s family owned a bank with alleged mob ties. But Kirk misrepresented his military record.
The voters have to decide between two candidates with character problems who’ve been beating each other up over the airwaves. But polling out this week found 7% of likely voters still undecided.
Republicans will likely pick up several seats. Of the 37 governorships being contested, more than half are open seats. Among them are swing states where Obama could use an ally in 2012, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
As for the California ballot initiative legalising marijuana, an LA Times/University of Southern California poll found the measure will likely fail.
But perhaps the $1 million donation from multibillionaire investor George Soros for the ad campaign in support of the measure will help convince reluctant voters.