The Note: No Time Like Today

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The marathon sprint to the Nov. 2 finish line is almost all over but for the prognosticating.

There's more than enough of that to go around, and despite the tightening of key House and Senate races in the final days, the overall landscape continues to look bleak for Democrats.

A fresh USA Today/Gallup Poll finds that by as much as a 55 to 40 percent margin, likely voters said they plan to cast their ballot for a Republican candidate rather than a Democrat. As USA Today's Susan Page points out that is a "more commanding lead than either party has held on the eve of a midterm contest in more than a generation."

A Pew poll released over the weekend also gave the GOP an edge, albeit by a somewhat smaller margin -- 48 to 42 percent on the generic ballot. And a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 49 percent of likely voters prefer a GOP-controlled Congress compared to 43 percent who want Democrats in the driver's seat.

Democratic prospects for keeping control of the Senate remain brighter, although as ABC's Rick Klein notes, "Republicans have put enough Democratic-held seats in play to make a power shift possible there as well."

More from Klein's look at the lay of the land:

"Republicans have positioned themselves to take advantage of nation-wide voter anger, in part by being just about everywhere in the nation, in both House and Senate races. There are 431 Republican House candidates on the ballot Tuesday; there are only 435 House districts total. In the Senate, a dozen Democratic-held seats are in play -- more than enough, though with little margin for error, for the GOP to have a shot at the 10 seats the party needs to take power. Of course, the 100-plus House seats that are in play aren't distributed evenly. They fall into a few major categories that leave Republicans likely to take out some of the old, some of the new and several of the long-since blue."

The New York Times' Nate Silver lists "5 Reasons Republicans Could Do Even Better Than Expected" on Nov. 2, painting a grim picture of a doomsday scenario for Democrats that has them losing as many as 78 seats.

No, it's not reality yet, but Silver argues that it could be come Tuesday night if the GOP can take advantage of a perfect political storm that includes "Downballot and cross-ballot effects," if "Unlikely voters voted -- and they voted Republican," "The incumbent rule, or something like it, makes a comeback," we experience what he calls the "The Scott Brown effect," (Republicans manage to pull off upset victories in Democratic-leaning areas) or "Likely voter models could be calibrated to the 2006 and 2008 elections, which were unusually good for Democrats" (in other words, will Democrats vote in smaller number than the poll modeling has predicted so far?).

Read The Note's political analysis for the day HERE.