Jim Talent's loss wasn't so much a slam-dunk by the Democrats.
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 southwest 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.