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As Final Weekend Arrives, Experts Say Democratic House Is a Done Deal

As we head into the final three days of the 2006 campaign, nonpartisan prognosticators are growing more and more certain that Democrats are headed for large-scale gains (20 seats or more) in the House and may even take control of the Senate.

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A Key Race Scorecard -- Nov. 3, 2006

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The Rothenberg Political Report is now estimating Democratic gains of between 34-40 seats in the House and 5-7 seats in the Senate.

Rothenberg ranks 16 Republican-held House seats as either tilting, leaning or favored for Democrats -- meaning that if Democrats win only these races they will claim the majority. Contests in Arizona's 8th, Colorado's 7th and Indiana's 8th districts all "favor" Democrats, according to Rothenberg. Iowa's 1st, Indiana's 2nd, Ohio's 15th and 18th and Pennsylvania's 7th and 10th are rated as "lean Democrat." And Arizona's 5th, Connecticut's 5th, Florida's 13th, Indiana's 9th, New Hampshire's 2nd, New York's 24th and North Carolina's 11th are toss-ups that tilt toward Democrats.

The Cook Political Report is currently predicting a Democratic House gain of 20-35 seats, but Amy Walter, the publication's House expert, wrote today that the low end of that range is "a cautious prediction" -- suggesting larger gains are likely. Cook ranks seven Republican-held Senate seats in the toss-up category and one other -- Arizona -- in the lean Republican category.

The Cook Report currently considers six Republican-held seats to be leaning in Democrats' favor: Arizona's 8th, Colorado's 7th, Florida's 13th, Iowa's 1st, New York's 24th and Ohio's 18th. It has 34 more Republican-controlled seats in its toss-up category and 15 additional GOP seats rated as "lean Republican."

What this means is that barring some sort of unforeseen event, House Democrats will take the majority on Tuesday night; the only question is how big that majority will be. Control of the Senate, however, remains less certain, although the chamber is clearly in play.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 3, 2006; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  House , Senate  
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