Election 2010: Where Things Stand with One Week to Go

The CBS News Critical Contests analysis continues to point to GOP gains - but just how many? Enough for House control? Here's what to watch in the final week:

(At left, Anthony Salvanto discusses the House outlook and national vote model on "Washington Unplugged")

House: Republicans need 39 net pickups to get control and they can get there with a combination of the seats in which they are favored, plus just a few of the remaining tossups races.

We show a net 33 seats they're now favored to gain, PLUS 25 more tossup races in Democratic seats remaining up for grabs. So if Republicans win in 6 of 25 tossups, and they also net the 33 where we see them favored today, that would give the GOP the House.

More broadly, the battle in final week hinges on many of the districts the Democrats took in '06 and '08 and on the gains they made with suburban and some rural independents in the last two cycles. If, come Election day, the GOP can roll back most of those gains, they would be in good position to win at least a narrow majority. If the Republicans see even more pickups than that, that scenario would probably be marked by a national two-party House vote of greater than 52%.

Watch early on for wins in the Northeast and New England (where Republicans are trying to make inroads into a Democratic-dominated area); an electorate a couple of points heavier than last midterm with older (65+) age voters; and if there's lower-than-expected turnout for Democrats in the urban portions of competitive districts.

Meanwhile, Democrats' hopes for stemming Republican gains and hanging on to their House majority probably rest on more than just driving up base turnout, but also on doing very well in their current tossup races and on better-than-expected showings among suburban voters - who comprise so many of the voters in these critical districts - and on whether they can keep the overall national House vote closer to even.

CBS News' 2010 National House Model: What Does the National House Vote Mean?

Senate: Republicans appear to head into the final week in good position to make gains. They need 10 net pickups to win control, but they'll still need a very good night to get that 10.

They are favored to pick up 5 - Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Wisconsin - and have another 4 Democratic seats engaged in tossup races (West Virginia, Illinois, Illinois, Nevada and Colorado).

Some of those like Colorado and Nevada still look tight right now, and there's some signs Pennsylvania may be tightening in the final push as well. If Republicans do take all four of those tossups and the five where they appear to have an edge, they'd need 1 of 3 other at-risk Democratic seats where Democrats are clinging to a current advantage (California, Connecticut and Washington) to make the ten needed.

Meanwhile, Republicans are currently favored - but not assured, of course - to hold their own at-risk seats of Florida, Missouri, New Hamshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

We should point out among those that the Kentucky race, which looks like it'll come down to the wire, on Election Night will be one of the early, key states to watch to see if the GOP can hold it and stay on track for their goal of Senate control.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Election 2010


Anthony Salvanto
Anthony Salvanto is CBS News Elections Director. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.

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    Anthony Salvanto is CBS News elections director

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