In Missouri's U.S. Senate race, at least, especially here in the 7th Congressional District of southwest Missouri. First, the statewide numbers:
Talent WON in 2002 with 49.8 percent of the vote, to Jean Carnahan's 48.7 percent.
Talent LOST in 2006 with 47.4 percent of the vote, to McCaskill's 49.4 percent.
The Dem gains .7 percent; Talent loses 2.4 percent.
A glaring difference: The Libertarian candidate went from 1 percent in 2002 to 2.3 percent in 2006.
Libertarian gains were more pronounced in Missouri's 7th District:
•In Lawrence County, McCaskill pulled 35.2 percent -- exactly as much as Carnahan in 2002. But Talent's share dwindled from 62.2 percent to 59.7 percent. The Libertarian candidate received 1.9 percent in 2002 and 3.9 percent in 2006.
•In Polk County (home to Southwest Baptist University), Talent defeated Carnahan in 2002, 62.4-35.5 percent. This year, Talent was held to under 60 percent -- 58.7-36.5, with the Libertarian share growing from 1.4 to 3.8 percent.
•In Taney County, Talent went from a 64.3-33.9 split in 2002 to a 60.6-34.8 victory in 2006. The Libertarian vote grew to 3.4 percent, from 1.3 percent in 2002.
•In Christian County, Talent lost more than 3 percent of his support (63.6 in 2002, 60.5 in 2006). The Democratic share grew only slightly, from 34.6 to 35.3 percent. But the Libertarian vote more than doubled, from 1.2 to 3.1 percent.
•In Barry County, Talent was held under 60 percent (59.2, from a high of 63.3 percent in 2002). Dems inched up from 34.8 to 35.5 percent. Libertarians increased their share from 1.4 to 3.9 percent.
In all five counties, Democrats didn't grow their share by more than a point. That's not to say the Democrats didn't do their fair share of damage to Talent in the 7th District. The senator suffered a significant setback in Greene County, where he won 59 percent of the vote in his 2002 race against Carnahan.
Talent's vote share was 49,164 to Carnahan's 33,144.
This year, about 17,500 more people voted in Greene County than in 2002. Talent gained about 4,000 votes. McCaskill piled 10,000 more votes on top of Carnahan's mark.
Percentages: 58.6-39.5 in 2002; 53.6-42.6 in 2006. Claire breaks 40 percent in the county.