Part of this is sheer attrition. It just wasn't as obvious a few years ago to many folks what a serious problem immigration is for American citizens. It is very expensive to run a senate race-which means that those seeking that office have to constantly calculate the tradeoff between fundraising and the popularity of a specific issues. As I've shown previously: there is big money resting on immigration(I'd figure the equivalent of about $100-200 Billion/year in pork). Anyhow, once a senator has taken a lot of money—or invested political capital—on an issue, it is really hard for them to dramatically change their stand.
Now, it isn't obvious what the stands of new senators elected will be. We only have a few cases in which both candidates have clear records on immigration. For example, Katherine Harris in Florida has a C+ and is running against a Democratic incumbent Nelson with a D grade-but Nelson stands a 94% chance of retaining his seat. DeWine in Ohio with a D- grade runs a 65% of chance of being replaced by Sherrod Brown with a D grade.
My projections obtained from Intrade suggest that the GOP will likely hang onto the senate with at most 2 seat majority—or become dependent upon the deciding vote of the Vice President. 15 Republican seats and 18 Democratic seats are up for election (40 Republican Seats and 27 Democratic seats not up for election). The real money odds suggest that Democrats wind up with 21 seats and republicans with 10 sets in this election-with 2 seats too close to call.
These odds are obtained by looking at real money betting on elections in Ireland(where this is legal). Unlikely traditional "bookie joints" Intrade sets their odds by a market process something like a stock market(these odds were obtained on 9/15/06 and may change). Historically betting pools have been shown to be better predictors of electoral outcome than polls.
Some races especially interesting from an immigration angle include those in Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Steelein Maryland appears much more moderate on the topic of immigration than his opponent Ben Cardin with a F rating. Steele has also already won a statewide post. Frankly it is puzzling why the RNC hasn't pulled out the stops getting Steele all the money he needs. In Missouri we have an an immigration restriction stalwart Jim Talent running in a tight race against a Democrat, McCaskill who also appears rather willing to restrict immigration. In Nevada, we have Jimmy Carter's son Jack running in against a republican incumbent with a moderate record on immigration-and taking stands rather moderate by comparision to many Democrats. Republican Tom Kean in New Jersey is taking great pains to disassociate himself from Bush's immigration policy—and that strategy appears to be working for him.
Tom Kean strongly disagrees with President Bush’s immigration plan and would have voted against the bill recently passed by the United States Senate that granted amnesty for those who have broken our laws and entered our country illegally. As someone who supports President Bush’s plan, Bob Menendez not only voted for a program that provided a direct path to citizenship for those who have broken our laws, but also supported giving illegal aliens Social Security benefits.
As previously reported in VDARE.COM, in Pennsylvania, Santorum is actively campaigning on the topic of immigration-and this appears to be his only hope of retaining his seat. In Ohio, we have two candidates than have poor track records on immigration-but the democrat has a slightly better track record.
Overall, it appears that both parties are just far too drunk on donations from the wealthy interests that most strongly support increased immigration to seriously address the issue of immigration. These folks may think they are avoiding shooting themselves in the foot like they did before the major restriction of immigration in the 20's—but they may in fact be undermining the faith of the American public in the two party system-and the Federal government itself. If The Democrats get a both a senate and house majority, the internal pressures in that party on immigration are especially likely to heat up.
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