Monday, November 06, 2006

Tomgram: Schwartz, A One-Stop Guide to Election Night 2006

If, in these last hours before the midterm elections, you want to quickly brush up on key races as well as the latest opinion polls, predictions, fraud reports, and scandals before you settle onto that couch, popcorn bowl beside you, for a long night of viewing and punditry, there's probably no better place to start than the election-resource page of (Elsewhere, election or not, Cursor offers its inspired Media Patrol daily round-up of articles you shouldn't miss.) For a good, quick rundown of opinion polls in close races, check out the right-leaning Real Clear Politics website with its extensive, easy-to-read polls on the 14 Senate races and good sets of polls on 40 of the 60 close congressional races. For a useful catalogue of the (very confusing) 60 House races now considered in the mix for election nig! ht, take a look at the careful forecast page of NPR's Ken Rudin.

But if you want tips on what to watch for once that TV goes on in your house -- as well as some canny reflections on where we all may find ourselves on Wednesday morning -- just settle back and consider the thoughts of Tomdispatch regular and former pollster, Michael Schwartz. Tom

The Couch Potato's Guide to Election Night

By Michael Schwartz

If you have a political bone in your body -- even if you're usually a cynic about elections -- you're undoubtedly holding your breath right now. With the 2006 midterm elections upon us, the question is: Will the Democrats recapture at least the House of Representatives and maybe even take the Senate by the narrowest of margins?

There is very little agreement about what might happen if a change in Congressional control takes place. The Bush administration, of course, has trumpeted the direst of warnings, predicting (in sometimes veiled ways) nothing less than the demise of the country. Less apocalyptic predictions include an expectation among 70% of potential voters (as reported in the latest New York Times poll) that "American troops would be taken out of Iraq more swiftly under a Democratic Congress." The more cynical among us hope for at least a few challenging congressional investigations of administration activities at home and abroad.

So we will go into Tuesday looking for that tell-tale count that will indicate a Democratic gain of 15 or more seats in the House; and -- a much bigger if -- six seats in the Senate. We probably face a long night sorting out so many disparate races -- and our traditional counters, the TV networks, won't even begin their task until the polls close on the East coast. So we could face a long day's journey into night, if we don't have some other "benchmarks" -- to use a newly favored administration word -- and issues to ponder.

Before the Polls Close

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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