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Small Movement Toward the GOP?

A few polls are beginning to show a little better news for Republicans the past 24 hours. SurveyUSA has a new Senate poll in Maryland that has Republican Lt. Gov. Micheal Steele tied with Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin 46% - 46%. We have updated our analysis on this race which is still in the "Leans Democrat" column.

If the general outlook for Republicans can improve just a little between now and election day Steele may have shot at the upset because of his ability to eat into critical African-American votes the Democratic nominee would usually count on as in the bag. Steele is pulling 25% of the black vote in SurveyUSA's latest poll down from 33% in their September poll. If it looks like he can get a 1/3rd of the African-American vote on election day this race becomes a true toss up.

A quick glance at the RCP Chart in this race shows Steele's new found momentum.

In Colorado 4 SurveyUSA has the Republican incumbent ahead by 10 points, 48% - 38%. Musgrave is currently #28 on RCP's list of most likely House seats to switch parties, so it is good news for the GOP that this race has perhaps stabilized for Musgrave. Chris Chocola in Indian's 2nd CD comes in at #12 on the list and he is decidedly in more trouble, a new Research 2000 poll out today has him trailing Jim Donnelly by 5points, 50% -45%. We have an new updated analysis up on that race:

IN-2 is in many ways one of the bellwether House races for control of Congress. Indiana's second congressional district voted 53% for Bush in 2000 and 56% for the President in 2004. Chris Chocola lost to former Rep. Tim Roemer in what was Indiana's 3rd district in 2000, but managed 47% of the vote. In 2002, in an open seat race, he defeated a formidable opponent in Jill Long 50% - 47% in Indiana's new 2nd district. And in 2004 he handily won reelection against his current opponent Joe Donnelly 54% - 45%.

Perhaps his easy win in 2004 bred a certain level of overconfidence in Chocola, but he without question finds himself in a battle today. Donnelley has led in most of the public surveys, including a Republican poll released just a week ago by a point, Donnelley 45% - Chocola 44%. Indiana's decision to lease a major toll road in Chocola's district appears to be really hurting the incumbent along with the switch to daylight savings time, a quirk that had been in effect in parts of the district. The latest Research 2000 poll just released today gives Donnelly a 5 point edge, 50% - 45%.

Chocola has the resources, and this is a Republican leaning district, but he may have let this race get away from him over the summer.

This is exactly the type of race Democrats need to win to capture the House.

There are a whole bunch of RT Strategies/CD and Zogby Interactive polls out as well in competitive House, Senate and Governor races. The batch of RT Strategies House polls look to favor the Democrats. In NY-20 (which is #37 on RCP's list) they have the Democratic challenger up a whopping 14 points, 54% - 41%. However, a newly released traditional telephone poll by Sienna taken at exactly the same time as the RT Strategy/CD poll has the Republican incumbent Sweeney up 14 points, 53% - 39%. Needless to say both polls can not be right.

And then there are the basket of Zogby/WSJ.com internet polls that on balance show pretty good news for Republicans in the Senate. In RCP's current "Toss Up" ranked senate races the Zogby polls have the Republican ahead in all four - Missouri: Talent +2, New Jersey: Kean +2, Tennessee: Corker +7 and in Virginia: Allen +3. If Democrats take all of the races RCP has leaning their direction today they would need to win 3 out of 4 of these races to win the Senate. The current RCP Average and InTrade markets give Republicans the edge in Virginia and the Democrats the edge in New Jersey with split verdicts in Missouri and Tennessee.