Allen's Goon Squad Won't Help Him
The final NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before the election just came out, showing that the 15-point generic ballot advantage for the Democrats (52%-37%) has not changed from two weeks ago. This poll is of questionable use as a predictor of what will happen next week, because it is of registered and not likely voters. But some of the findings give a sense of the big picture nonetheless.
According to the poll, 52 percent of registered voters say they prefer Democrats controlling Congress, compared with 37 percent who want Republicans in charge. That 15-point advantage is unchanged from the last NBC/Journal poll released two weeks ago, and ties the largest lead ever on this particular question.
Moreover, 40 percent say that what they have seen and heard over the past few weeks -- which includes the Foley scandal, the violence in Iraq and journalist Bob Woodward's unflattering portrayal of the Bush Administration's handling of the war -- has given them a less favorable impression of Republicans holding onto control of Congress (that figure is down seven points since the last poll). Just 19 percent believe it has given them a more favorable impression.
While Bush's job approval ratings have inched up, opinions about the Iraq war have plummeted to new lows. Only 27 percent say they are more confident that the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion (which is an all-time low), while 61 percent say they are less confident (an all-time high).
In addition, just 37 percent believe that removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth the U.S. casualties and financial cost of the war. That is tied for the lowest mark on this response since the poll began asking the question in November 2003. Fifty-four percent say removing Hussein from power wasn't worth it.
But what about the races themselves?
A new poll shows that Claire McCaskill has edged out to a small lead over Jim Talent, seemingly based on the stem cell issue focus.
New Jersey Senate
In the only true GOP pickup opportunity left, Democrat Robert Menendez has pulled out to a five-point lead amongst likely voters over Tom Kean, Jr. If the Democrats hold New Jersey and the rest of their Senate seats; knock off Santorum, DeWine, Chafee, and Burns; and take two of the three between Virginia, Missouri, and Tennessee, you will have a Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Charlie Cook thinks that a Democratic pickup of between 20 and 35 seats is probable.