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Coming into focus

From Newsweek's Jonathan Alter
As of right now, the two big questions are finally coming into focus:

First, The Democrats have taken control of the House. Enough results are in to indicate that the Democrats will pick up 20 to 30 seats. The two "canaries in the mineshaft" I mentioned on MSNBC at 7:30, Charlie Bass of New Hampshire and Chris Chocola of Indiana, are both going down to defeat by substantial margins. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, another seen as an indicator of trends, has lost. Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania is another example.

Second, control of the Senate seems likely to remain in GOP hands, though just barely. With Claire McCaskill in Missouri and Harold Ford in Tennessee trailing, only skewed returns in one or both of those states can keep the Democrats in the game. Should that happen, control of the Senate would come down to Virginia. To put the fate of the Senate into "overtime," the gap between George Allen and Jim Webb would have to close to half a percentage point. Right now, the gap is more like 1.5 percent, with Allen leading. So the odds favor continued GOP control.

Finally, Hillary Clinton is running close to even with gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer now has 71 percent; Clinton 70 percent. This is a surprise, and will bolster her chances in 2008.