No matter whether the GOP or Democrats win control the House in Tuesday's election--and as I write this it is too early to know--the future of House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is on the line.
Keep in mind the speaker is officially elected by all members when the new Congress convenes. As a practical matter, it is the call of the majority party. GOP leaders are considering delaying holding their leadership elections--for party positions--because of an expected realignment in GOP ranks no matter what. Hastert is not expected to want to stay on as minority leader. He has said he wants to stand for speaker again if the GOP retains the majority. Not clear if he really means it--especially if the GOP hangs on by one or two votes. Hastert may even quit the seat he is expected to win today if the Republicans loose the House.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch....the Associated Press conducted an exit poll of Illinois voters...and found most respondents had an unfavorable opinion of Hastert.
Hastert, from Plano, is embroiled in the Mark Foley page scandal. The House ethics committee is probing whether Hastert and his top staffers ignored warnings years ago about Foleys' interest in young male pages.
The AP sampled 1,304 voters as they left 40 randomly selected Illinois precincts.
Another finding: A majority said Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would make a good president. Two years ago the AP asked this same question in the exit poll--and the results were split.