While Sen. John McCainJohn McCainGOP reps to Obama: No pardon for Bergdahl Free speech is a right, not a political weapon The trouble with Rex Tillerson MORE (R-Ariz.) hangs in there, locked in a tough race with Sen. Barack ObamaBarack ObamaJapanese PM Abe won't apologize at Pearl Harbor Ryan: Trump's Taiwan call 'much ado about nothing' The story of America: From freedom to fear MORE (D-Ill.), the Republican undercard is facing obliteration in the 2008 general elections for the Senate. Polling suggests that a massacre may be in the offing — and one that’s possibly even greater than the worst of previous GOP years: 1958, 1964, 1974, 1986 and 2006.
Scott Rasmussen, whose site, www.rasmussenreports.com , follows these races closely, is producing truly hair-raising polling data.
Of the open Republican Senate seats in contention, Democratic victory seems very likely in Virginia (Democratic former Gov. Mark WarnerMark WarnerMcConnell: Spending bill will include miners' pension fix Overnight Cybersecurity: Watchdog seeks release of Clinton aide's deposition Overnight Tech: FCC eyes cybersecurity role | More trouble for spectrum auction | Google seeks 'conservative outreach' director MORE now has 55 percent, while fellow former Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore stands at 37) and New Mexico (where Democratic Rep. Tom UdallTom UdallTom Udall eyes NM governor bid Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Tensions rise over judicial nominees MORE takes 53 percent to GOP Rep. Steve Pearce’s 37 and 57 percent to Republican Rep. Heather Wilson’s 36). In Colorado, Democratic Rep. Mark UdallMark UdallGardner's chief of staff tapped for Senate GOP campaign director The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate Colorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open MORE has a narrow lead over Republican Bob Schaffer (45-42). Nebraska would seem safely Republican, but a humongous black turnout in Mississippi could elect former Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, just as it led to a Democratic congressional victory in a bi-election this month. Score them: two Democrat, one leaning Democrat, one leaning Republican, and one Republican. A net loss of two or three seats.
And then there are the endangered incumbents. Three GOP senators are actually behind their Democratic challengers. Alaska’s Ted Stevens is behind Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE by 47-45. Elizabeth Dole trails Kay HaganKay HaganGOP senator floats retiring over gridlock 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map The untold stories of the 2016 battle for the Senate MORE in North Carolina by 48-47. And Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenThis Week in Cybersecurity: Dems press for information on Russian hacks Overnight Tech: Venture capitalists' message to Trump | Bitcoin site ordered to give IRS data | Broadband gets faster Dem senator: Hold hearing on Russian interference in election MORE is well ahead of John Sununu in New Hampshire, 51-43. Stevens’s legal problems and the likely huge black turnout in North Carolina make all three states lean Democratic at this point.
Even when GOP incumbents lead, they are perilously under 50 percent. In Oregon, as of this writing, Gordon Smith leads Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDem senator to Trump: 'You have no mandate' GOP senators wary of nuking filibuster Dem senators charge: Trump not draining the swamp MORE by only 45-42 and Steve Novick by 47-41. And in Texas, John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP: National museum should include Clarence Thomas Trump gets chance to remake the courts Lawmakers eye early exit from Washington MORE leads Rick Noriega by only 47-43. In addition, Norm Coleman in Minnesota is hanging on by his teeth against Al FrankenAl FrankenDems press Trump to keep Obama overtime rule GOP wants to move fast on Sessions Overnight Cybersecurity: Lawmakers pushing for vote to delay warrant rule changes MORE, 50-43; Susan CollinsSusan CollinsMedicare looms over Trump-Ryan alliance Senators crafting bill to limit deportations under Trump Cornyn: ‘Virtual certainty’ Sessions and Price will be confirmed MORE is only narrowly ahead of Rep. Tom Allen in Maine, 52-42; and in Kansas, Pat RobertsPat RobertsSenate GOP to Obama: Stop issuing new rules GOP debates going big on tax reform Memo to the LGBT community: Donald Trump is not your enemy MORE holds only a 52-40 lead over Jim Slattery. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellMcConnell: We'll repeal ObamaCare on day one How the president-elect will 'Trump-start' the economy Federal courts: Pawn in a political game MORE in Kentucky may also be in trouble.
So, among incumbents, score it three leaning Democratic, two tossups, and three leaning Republican.
Overall, that’s a likely Democratic pickup of five seats, with an eight-seat gain possible, and, in a partisan wipeout, a 12-seat shift.
In all likelihood, the filibuster will still remain a theoretical Republican option, but, in practical terms, may be beyond reach, especially if Obama wins the White House.
Driving the GOP’s imperiled Senate situation, or course, is a massive shift in party identification. While the two parties are normally about tied in party ID, the Democrats now enjoy a 44-30 advantage in the latest Fox News poll of April 29.A combination of the Iraq war, gas prices, the credit crisis and a looming recession are dragging down the Republican Party, big time.
So is a president with a 28 percent approval rating. Bush needs to go out and tell America that things are bad, but not that bad. There are solid signs that the economy may not be tanking after all. Unemployment, while rising, is still at historic lows. The credit crisis has not led to a wholesale collapse of the financial industry and the instability appears to be easing. And, in Iraq, we are approaching a more stable situation with lower combat deaths. Bush, who has largely been hunkered down in the White House, needs to hit the trail and move his ratings up into the mid- or high 30s, not an insurmountable challenge.
Will the endangered Republicans recover? Most have prevailed, in the past, by lifting their personal ratings out of possible danger early in the race. But when long-term incumbents find themselves mired in the high 40s or low 50s in vote share, it indicates a massive voter desire for change that is not likely to abate.
In the House, the incredible three Democratic bi-election victories, combined with the retirements of so many Republican incumbents, indicates that the GOP may be facing disaster there as well.
This is not a good year to be a Republican.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill ClintonBill ClintonRyan: Trump's Taiwan call 'much ado about nothing' Top Dem super PAC launches anti-Trump war room Racism: The left's last refuge MORE, is the author of Outrage. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com .