In his last newsletter before the mid-term elections next week, Bob Novak today says Republicans would win control of both the Senate and House, plus the governorships of seven of the eight most populous states, if the election were held today. President Clinton's pick-up in popularity, as reflected in polling after his ceremonial Mideast trip, has not transferred to Democratic candidates in the field. The election will hinge on turnout, says Novak, with "the more likely the voter [to vote], the bigger the GOP edge appears to be." He expects Republicans to gain nine seats in the Senate, two more than needed, and 45 seats in the House, five more than necessary for control.
In the Senate, he believes the Republicans will retain all of the seats they now hold, plus: Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, both Tennessee seats, and Virginia. There's still a remote chance for the GOP in California and New Jersey.
In the House, Novak breaks the races down by region. In the South, he finds 13 possible and 17 probable GOP pickups and four possible Democratic pickups. In the West, he finds 10 possible and 10 probable GOP pickups and four possible for the Democrats. In the East, he cites five possible and six probable GOP pickups and four possible and two probable Democratic gains. In the Midwest, he cites 12 possible and 14 probable Republican gains and four possible Democratic pickups.
In individual House races, Novak says House Speaker Tom Foley has closed the gap, but that he is by no means safe. He believes Rep. Sam Gibbons of Florida, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, may be a goner. (If the Democrats retain control of the House, this means Rep. Charles Rangel of New York would almost certainly step up to the Ways & Means chairmanship.)
In the governorships, "Republicans look set to pick up Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Democrats can contemplate gains in Alaska, Arizona and Maine. That would look like a healthy GOP gain, but if New York is not in the win column there will be deep disappointment." Mario Cuomo has opened up a lead over Republican challenger George Pataki, but "anti-Cuomo feeling is so strong outside New York City and enthusiasm by blacks and Hispanics so weak that Pataki could still pull it off."