Election night's biggest winner so far? Pollsters.

So far on election night, everything appears to be going to plan, with few surprises. It's a victory for pollsters, who have been on target in East Coast races.

Erik Lunsford/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP
Voters cast their ballots at the St. Louis County Library Cliff Cave Branch in Oakville, Mo., on Tuesday. Pollsters have been on target with projections so far, and if east coast states are any indicator, Republicans should take 55 to 60 House seats away from the Democrats.

It’s still early on election night, with many polls in Western states still open.

But one apparent victor so far: pollsters.

There have been surprisingly few upsets at this point in the evening, and most of the races seem to be going as predicted, with House races breaking a bit in favor of Republicans.

As expected, Republicans won senate seats in Florida and Kentucky, and lost the elections in Delaware and Connecticut. In West Virginia – one of the closest races – Democrat Joe Manchin prevailed, as recent polls have predicted.

And as expected, Republicans appear poised to take control of the House, with CNN already making that prediction.

The bigger question is just how big their takeover will be.

Before Tuesday, some pundits were wondering if they would take not just the 39 seats they needed to win control, but something more on the order of 70, 80, or even 90 seats.

Now, it seems likely they’ll win more like 55 or 60 seats – a high number, but not drastically better than expected.

Many of the closely watched swing districts – Indiana’s Ninth, Pennsylvania’s Eleventh, Virginia’s Eleventh, and Ohio's Eighteenth, for instance – have been called for Republicans. And on the whole, most of the close races have been going that way, including some Democrats were optimistic about holding.

But Democrats – like Larry Kissel in North Carolina’s Eighth – have also hung onto seats that they seemed in danger of losing, and most of the races where they had an edge in the polls have gone their way.

Democrat Barron Hill lost by more than expected in Indiana’s Ninth District, but in the state’s Second District, Democrat Joe Donnelly – who went into the night a narrow favorite – managed to hang onto his seat.

It’s still possible that big upsets await, but so far, the polling consensus seems to be largely on target not just in predicting who will win and lose, but also how close the races will be.

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