With just one month to go before election day, Democrats are bracing themselves for losses that could be as devastating as those suffered in 1980 — or possibly even worse. Republicans have an even-money shot at gaining a majority in the Senate; their odds of getting the upper hand in the House are approaching one in three; and they could conceivably shut Democrats out of the governorships in all the megastates. Party and liberal stalwarts such as Gov. Mario Cuomo, Speaker Tom Foley and Sen. Edward Kennedy are looking at about a 50-50 chance of survival. A loss by any one of the trio, much less all of them, would amount to a humiliating symbolic defeat for Democrats.

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