Katherine Harris wins! And other news from the campaign desk

Looking ahead at November.

Published August 14, 2006 4:34PM (EDT)

Katherine Harris won the highly unscientific straw poll at last week's Osceola Hob Nob. No, we don't know what that is, either, but we've heard of the St. Petersburg Times, and its latest poll has Harris trailing Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, 60-25 percent.

In other looking-toward-November news:

According to a new Newsweek poll, 53 percent of Americans say they want the Democrats to take control of Congress this year. Just 34 want to see the GOP retain control. Those results are right in line with what every other major poll has shown of late: When confronted with a choice between generic Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress, poll respondents are consistently picking the Democrat by double-digit margins.

And what about the Republicans? The Washington Post says they're running scared, especially in the Northeast, where Ned Lamont's win over Joe Lieberman has Republican congressional candidates taking pains to explain how they're different from George W. Bush. The Post says that Jim Gerlach, a Republican representative from Pennsylvania, has turned his "standard line" about the president -- "When I think he's wrong, I let him know" -- into "a virtual campaign slogan." New York GOP candidate Raymond Meier tells the paper that Republicans are saddled with the burden of showing that they have "even a clue" about voters' lives.

So what does it all mean? It depends on whom you ask. In a look ahead to November in the Sacramento Bee, Cook Political Report editor Charlie Cook says that time is running out for the GOP. "Unless something dramatic happens before Election Day," he says, "Democrats will take control of the House."

But CQ Politics takes a look at the landscape today and sees things differently, at least for right now. "If the 2006 midterm election were held today, tomorrow or even next week, it would be safe to say that Republicans would hold on -- barely, but with just enough room to spare -- to their majorities in both the House and Senate."

But the elections won't be held today or tomorrow or next week. They'll be held a little less than three months from now, and the CQ Politics team puts a fine point on just how long that can be. "Just three months ago -- roughly the amount of time between now and Election Day -- Lamont was a virtual unknown; only 9 percent of respondents to a Quinnipiac University poll in May knew enough about him to state any opinion, and the respected survey organization reported that Lieberman's support for President Bush's conduct of the war was no threat to his re-election."

And speaking of Lamont, Lieberman and Bush, White House press secretary Tony Snow was asked today whether the president will endorse Alan Schlesinger, the Republican Party's official candidate in the Connecticut Senate race. Snow refused to say, opening the door to speculation that Bush will, either explicitly or implicitly, put his money where his mouth has been.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2006 Elections Joe Lieberman War Room