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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Polls: Dems Poised for Modest Gains in ’06

Nine months out, Democrats are in position to win modest gains in the U.S. Senate, but could do better in races for seats in the U.S House of Representatives, according to recent opinion polls. If the Senate elections were held today, Dems would have a net pick up of one seat, five short of the number needed to win a majority in the Senate, according to a Wall Street Journal/Zogby Interactive poll of 17 “battleground states” released January 19th. Zogby concludes of Dems’ Senate chances:

They could knock off Ohio Republican Mike DeWine, a two-term incumbent moderate who has angered his home-state base by going against President Bush on judicial nominees, and Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum, a staunch conservative who is running a tough race for re-election this year against the son of a very well-known Democratic icon. Familial politics works in the favor of the GOP in New Jersey, however, as Republican Tom Kean, Jr. the son of a popular governor there, polls well against his Democratic opponents, including Bob Menendez, who was recently appointed to fill the senate seat vacated by Jon Corzine, who resigned after winning the race for governor in November.
Democrats are leading in the Senate races in Minnesota and Maryland, while Republicans appear ready to hold onto their seat in Tennessee.

However, Asked which party’s candidates they prefereered for U.S. Senate races, respondents in a poll of LV’s by Democracy Corps conducted 1/4-8, favored Dems by a 14 point margin.
Zogby didn’t address races in the House of Reps. But the DCorps poll suggests that Dems could win the 15 seats needed to gain a majority in the House. Asked which party they would vote for in their congressional district, respondents favored Democrats by a margin of 50-40 percent. Other polls taken in January by Harris, Hotline, Gallup and AP show leads for Dems of 9, 7, 7 and 13 percent respectively.