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Oregon State University political science professor Bill Lunch said the Democrats are poised to lose as many 40 to 50 congressional seats in the general election. His comments came during Monday’s city club meeting in the Banquet Room at the Renaissance Building downtown.

“It’s looking like Nov. 7 is not going to be a good evening to be a Democrat,” Lunch told a group of about 40 people.

Lunch, who has been a  political analyst for Oregon Public Broadcasting since 1988, based his statement on voting patterns over the past 50 years. He said that the percentage of voter participation during mid-term or congressional race years declines sharply from presidential election years.

The trend, which Lunch called “surge and decline,” could hurt the Democrats because history shows that many people who vote in presidential election years don’t vote two years later.

“Those disappearing voters end up in parties losing seats in the house,” Lunch said.  And while there are more Democrats in America, Lunch said Republicans are more effective at mobilizing their voters and getting them to vote.

At the same time, Lunch said he wouldn’t be surprised if in Oregon, Chris Dudley is elected governor of Oregon and ends up having to work with a Democrat-controlled Senate and House. He said polls indicate a close race between Dudley and Kitzhaber. Lunch said one factor Dudley has to worry about is Greg Kord, the Constitution Party candidate for governor.

“Their candidates never come close to earning enough votes to win,” Lunch said. “But typically they get enough to earn 4 to 6 percent of the vote. That could be a problem for Dudley in a close race. That’s something Kitzhaber doesn’t have to worry about it.”

Lunch said he expects voter participation to be higher in Benton County than most other counties in the state because Corvallis is well-educated.

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