To The Wire

While the Senate isn’t that difficult to monitor in terms of polling, surveys of House races are rare and always leave you wondering, what am I missing?

I asked that yesterday when I thought about GOP targets in the state of Georgia, where recent polls have shown both Rep. Jim Marshall (GA-8) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2) in trouble this year.

Marshall and Bishop have always been on the Republican hit list, as has Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who is in the 12th District.  Suddenly, I wondered – why has Barrow been under the radar?  Usually he’s in the same sentence as Marshall and other Blue Dogs.

I did a little digging and found that while no one wanted to say there was any polling done on Barrow’s re-election race – including one firm that supposedly was doing polls for Barrow’s opponent – there were some rumblings about the race and whether it might be much closer than many people assumed.

In recent days, listeners from around the nation have sent in “tips” on their local Congressional races, telling me that I better check into whether or not this Democrat or that Democrat is in trouble.

One person asked me what I had heard about Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) – he’s the guy who manhandled the college kid pestering him with a video camera earlier this year.

No, I said, there was no talk about his race at all – he must be okay.

BZZZZZZZZZT.  Boy, I got that wrong.

Yesterday, a poll comes out that says Etheridge is behind in a three-way race by 5 points.  And the third candidate in the race is a Libertarian.

Earlier in the day, someone had suggested that another North Carolina Democrat, Rep. David Price was in a much closer race than many were thinking, and suddenly some poll numbers were popping into my Inbox to show exactly that.

That sparked an old memory that Price had been defeated in the 1994 Republican Revolution, and then won his seat back in 1996.

He didn’t survive that wave, so it’s not off the wall to think out loud about Price surviving this one.

It made me stop and think – how many other Democrats are running under the radar with bad poll numbers right now?

It happened in 1994 and will probably happen again next Tuesday if the GOP win is big enough – someone that no one has talked about on the Democratic side will get surprised and go down to defeat.

Let’s quickly go through the 38 Toss-Ups as rated by Real Clear Politics:

AL2 – Blue Dog Rep. Bobby Bright (D-AL) trying to hang on
AZ7 – Is Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) really about to lose?
AZ8 – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) struggling for a 3rd term
CT4 – Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) sending out lots of press releases
CT5 – Will Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) really lose this seat?    
GA2 – New poll shows Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) behind 4
HI1 – Polls on both sides of this Republican seat
ID1 – Maybe Rep. Walt Minnick (D-ID) isn’t so safe
IL10– Democrats should win this seat, but it’s a GOP year
IN2 – Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) narrowly ahead in new poll    
KY6 – Rep. Ben Chandler (D-KY) always a GOP target    
MA10– Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) won this district in January
MI7 – Rematch of 2008 when Schauer (D) beat Wallberg (R)    
MI9 – Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) in Dem freshman trouble    
MO4 – Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO) on the rivet
MS4 – Still can’t believe Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) might lose    
NC11– Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) says he’ll vote himself for Speaker    
NC2 – Rep. Bob Etheridge might get manhandled by voters
NC7 – Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-NC) was down 1 a month ago    
NV3 – The freshman curse for Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV)    
NY1 – Polls don’t show Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) in trouble
NY13– Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY) supposedly in tight race    
NY20– New poll has Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY) down 9    
NY24– New poll has Rep. Mike Arcuri (D-NY) up 5
NY25– Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) struggling to stay in House    
OH6 – Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-OH) has been behind in polls    
OR5 – One poll shows Rep. Kurt Schrader +12, another -10
PA11– New poll has Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) up 7    
PA12– Rep. Mark Critz (D-PA) tries to win first full term    
PA7 – Open seat of Joe Sestak may be going to GOP
TN4 – Blue Dog Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) struggling    
TX23- Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) suddenly in trouble    
VA11– Rep. Gerry Connolly fighting hard to keep his seat
VA9 – Poll this week had Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) down 1    
WA2 – Rep. Rick Larsen doing better in recent days    
WA3 – Open Baird seat may be slipping to GOP
WA9 – Rep. Adam Smith having to work hard for another term    
WV1 – Can Gov. Manchin save this open seat for Dems?