If you happen to be a person prone to picking the ponies, yanking on the handle of a slot machine, or playing Texas Hold ‘em ‘til the wee hours of the morning, you’d be better off staying with these relatively sure things rather than betting on national elections.

Polls change almost daily — sometimes with the news cycle, sometimes with a new set of campaign ads — justifying the opinion of election observers that the presidential race remains a “toss up,” and “too close to call.”

Two of these observers, David Wasserman, with the Cook Political Report, and Jim Wiesemeyer, with Informa Economics, discussed the upcoming election at the recent Southwest Ag Issues Summit in Austin.

They were a bit more definitive about Senate and House races, both suggesting that Democrats will pick up a few seats in the House but not enough to gain control, and that the Senate could tilt either way but not enough for either party to enjoy a commanding majority. Fifty/fifty, they said, seems a good bet.

Wasserman predicts Democrats will gain 10 to 15 seats in the House; Wiesemeyer thinks they could pick up a few more.

The Virginia race could be a key for the Presidential election, Wasserman said, and Virgil Goode could be a deciding factor. Goode, a former Republican, served in the U.S. House from 1997 to 2009, representing the 5th congressional district of Virginia.

He lost his seat in 2008 to DemocratTom Perriello. He joined the Constitution Party and is that party's 2012 presidential nominee.

Wasserman said Goode may be a spoiler in the 2012 race, much like Ralph Nader in Florida in 2000.

He also said recent trends indicate that Romney has dipped a bit in the last two months. “Two months ago, Romney had an even chance. That turned over the summer quite a bit.

“If Obama wins the election, he will win despite the economy and because of his campaign. If Romney wins, it will be because of the economy and despite his campaign.”

He said the economy, especially unemployment, remains Obama’s biggest challenge. “The current unemployment rate is not where a president typically wants it to be for re-election. Also, the gross domestic product is below 2. By all measures, Obama should be losing.

“So why not?”