With Bush’s ratings plummeting will the Republicans retain control?
Probably the most important elections anywhere in the world during 2006 will be the US mid-terms on November 7th when the Republicans will be defending their control of both the House and the Senate.
The numbers look straightforward: to win the Senate Democrats have to win six seats, which given the strength of Republican incumbents looks almost out of the question – although the collapse in confidence in recent polls on George Bush gives them a whiff that something might be possible.
The House looks an easier target where Democrats will have to win 15 Republican seats and hold onto all those that they are defending. Although 435 seats are up for election the view is that only 32 of these will see serious contests and only 21 Republican seats are reckoned to be at risk.
So for the Democrats to make the breakthrough they need to win at least three-quarters of those on the Republicans vulnerable list and hang onto to all the the seats they control.
The big question is whether the collapse in confidence in the President as a result of Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will pull his party down in November.
In some surveys Bush’s approval level is down in 30s – levels only reached by Bill Clinton at his biggest low. It is the sense of frustration with the White House that is said to be behind the planned rebellion by Republicans over the Dubai port deal. If Bush fails on that issue he could look very weak indeed.
On the Tradesports betting exchange the money is still with the Republicans. The power of incumbency in the US is so great that punters are only giving the Democrats a 2/1 chance of taking the House with the Senate a 4/1 possibility.