"This should not be a 50-50 nation"

I think most people would agree, but Mark Steyn argues that President Bush blew it in 2001:

How you read this election depends on which way you pick up the book. If you look at it as a conventional sixth year race, the Democrats underperformed, as noted below. If you look at it as a contest between the September 11th party and the September 10th party, the Democrats did distressingly well. I look back on what I wrote in 2001/2002 - some of it's in The Face Of The Tiger - and I'm more than ever convinced that Bush and the Republicans lost a big opportunity to shift the culture in the wake of 9/11. This should not be a 50/50 nation."

Mark Steyn also rates this as the best night for Democrats since 1998 if not 1992. In the sense that this is about revenge against George Bush, a bigger hate figure than Newt Gingrich was, I should have thought that emotionally this was on a par with Little Rock 1992.

Republicans hold Senate: final forecast

With Democrats needing to find three wins from Arizona, Missouri, Georgia, Montana and Tennessee it looks like the Republicans have held the Senate, albeit by a thread.

The forecasts for the House of Representatives look better for the Democrats but at this time they are just that: forecasts. Good results for them in the gubernatorial elections.

No news yet on the the South Dakota abortion referendum, or Arnold Schwartzenegger. I expect the latter to be re-elected.

From 2004, tonight has been an excellent result for the Democrats. Will they think so? Only if they either sweep a lot of close races in the next few hours, or if their expectations were a lot lower than they claimed.

I'm off to bed at 03:55AM GMT (10:55PM EST).

Update: Jim Talent has conceded in Missouri and local report does not suggest that litigation will follow.

With George Allen and Conrad Burns looking weak in Georgia and Montana, the Democrats could yet take the Senate too.

If this narrow Democrat victory is cathartic for the Republicans, it will bring the latter down to earth with a solid bump (the voters have not done a 1997 UK election to the incumbants). Yet no one should underestimate the extent to which Democrat House and maybe Senate committees will dictate the headlines over the next two years. They would be foolish to miss the opportunity to hold hearings designed to embarrass their opponents on lobbying practices, the public finances and Iraq. The Democrats will not however be the Gingrich restraint on Clinton that fiscal conservatives and libertarians dream of. They will support almost every spending plan of President George Bush, and push forward their own pet schemes. The only surprise would be to see this president start vetoing spending bills.

Democrats winning tight races in House of Representatives

Tradesports is offering trades at effectively 16 to 1 against the Republicans hold in the House of Representatives, but odds on to hold the Senate.

To my U.S. readers, it may be illegal for you to use Tradesports. I use it to measure punters' estimates of future events, as they are generally more accurate than the so-called experts.

N.B. I have never placed a contract on the site and they haven't paid me a commission, nor am I looking for one.

Good results for Democrats in the Senate

Fox News says Rick Santorum has lost Pennsylvania (no surprise, he was behind all year). However, Menendez holding New Jersey is good for Democrats.

Disgraced Tom Foley does not cost GOP his seat...

...though he may yet contribute to losing the House of Representatives by discouraging some loyal supporters elsewhere. Vote counting in Florida's 16th congressional district is showing a lead for Foley's replacement.

Republican presidential hopeful looks finished

Perhaps one of the most significant developments has been the implosion of Virginia Senator George Allen's ambitions to become the next Republican candidate for President.

As I write, he may actually have lost his senate seat (where George Bush did "badly" to win by 9% in 2006). Even if Senator Allen is re-elected narrowly, his credibility as a presidential choice is shot to pieces. Double bonus.

Score 1 to the Democrats.

High turnout means polls could be wrong

Either the angry masses come out to "throw out the bums," so Democrat leads are underestimated.

Or the silent majority comes out and turns the pollsters into a laughing stock, again.

First results: no change in Indiana or Vermont

Early report here.

No indication of local swing, but I expect that there will be a lot of local variation. I don't expect to read too much if any Republicans or Democrats win by bigger or smaller margins, unless they are 2008 presidential hopefuls (George Allen [Republican] in Virginia for example).


Live blogging US mid-term elections

Tonight I risk my shirt: here's a round up of predictions:

Pro-Democrat sites
Politics1 says Governor: Dems 30, Reps 20; Senate: D 51, R 49; House of Representatives: D 235, R 200.
Electoral Vote says: Senate: Dems 51, Reps 49; House: D 239, R 195 and 1 tie.
ThinkProgress: uses CNN early poll data to predict exactly six Senate gains and no losses for the Democrats.
Chris Bowers at MyDD says: Senate: Dems 50, Reps 50; House D 229, R 206.
Jonathan Singer at MyDD says: Governors: Dems 30, Reps 20.

Pro-Republican site
RealClearPolitics says: Governors: Dems 28, Reps 22; Senate: D 49, R 51. House: D 222, R 213.

In 2004, RCP got it right, the others were way out. We shall see.

My own view is that the Senate stays Republican but the House of Representatives goes Democrat. This is a good night for them after the débacles of 2002 and 2004. A majority of governorships will be useful, but California stays Republican.