Two analysts say: GOP takeover of House now a real possibility

posted at 6:08 pm on January 25, 2010 by Allahpundit

Not hack analysts, either: It’s the Cook Report and Nate Silver of Geraghty’s all over it, so I’m just going to crib the links from him. Silver:

Think others are too conservative on projecting GOP gains. We don’t have a House model yet, but GOP seems as likely as not to take House.

And Cook on the enthusiasm gap:

If this level remains constant, you can count on the Democratic majority in the House being toast this fall.

The chief political argument for passing ObamaCare at this point is that only by tossing red meat to the lefty base can that gap be narrowed. But (a) whatever comes out of the new House/Senate negotiations is unlikely to be so pleasing to progressives that it’ll lead them to turn out en masse, and (b) even if it did, the salient data point isn’t how much higher progressive turnout will be but whether the uptick in progressive turnout exceeds the uptick in turnout among enraged conservatives. If you pick up five percent more enthusiasm among lefties and incite 10 percent more among righties disgusted at having the bill rammed through via reconciliation, what have you gained politically? According to Cook, there are now fully 49 Democratic seats that are rated merely “lean Democratic” or “toss-up;” another 37 are “likely Democratic.” The GOP only needs 40 of those 86 to reclaim the House. What’s another surge in enthusiasm going to do to those numbers after O-Care passes and more Dems inevitably retire?

So bad is it, in fact, that Sean Trende of RCP is starting to think about whether the GOP could retake the Senate, too.

Getting to 47 or 48 seats for the GOP isn’t that difficult. It is getting those last two seats that will be exceedingly hard. Nevertheless, for the first time this cycle it is possible to see a scenario where the GOP gets those seats. I’d put their odds at doing so around 1 in 30. Then again, that’s where I put their odds of taking back the House a year ago. And that’s when things get interesting. The Democrats got their filibuster-proof majority by doing well in a year where they probably should have lost a seat or two (2006). The 2008 playing field was much more forgiving, and allowed them to post big numbers. In 2012 there are 23 Democrats and 10 Republican up for election, including nine Democrats in states Bush or McCain carried (versus four Republicans in Kerry or Obama states). In 2014, 20 Democrats (11 from Bush/McCain states) and 13 Republicans (1 from Kerry/Obama states). If Republicans make substantial gains this cycle, they could be in a position for a supermajority of their own in a few years.

Silver’s actually slightly more optimistic than Trende about a GOP takeover, giving it odds of one in 25 right now. I would have guessed it was far less likely than that, but with the GOP now ahead on PPP’s generic ballot too and Reid doing so badly against Republicans vis-a-vis other Democratic candidates, anything’s possible.

I forget who said this on Twitter earlier but it’s worth repeating here: Who ever thought the GOP might control Obama’s, Biden’s, Reid’s, Kennedy’s, and Dodd’s old Senate seats next year?

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Regarding NY, Gillibrand is the special election. Schumer is the regular cyclical election. Can you imagine 2 Conservative NY senators? I can. Then I cry.

Iblis on January 25, 2010 at 11:20 PM


@ milemarker2020

Agreed. Plus if Congress needs to pay for a war then it should be paid for by … War Bonds!

If the people don’t want it, it won’t be supported either politically or through funding. Additionally the government won’t be able to hide a lot of spending in the Defense appropriations like the Democrats are doing now.

memomachine on January 25, 2010 at 11:33 PM

I see a lot of analysis presuming two parties. I believe there will be a three party race in locations that do not have tea party supporting Republicans. That changes the dynamics tremendously – bad for Republicans and Conservatives good for Democrats.

{^_^} And faced with a tax and spend big government Republican I am willing to participate in the destruction of a country I’d consider dead already.

herself on January 26, 2010 at 1:41 AM

I don’t think the GOP can take Dodd’s seat. People here in CT didn’t dislike Dodd (D-CT), they disliked Dodd (D-Irish Cottage/Countrywide). Corrupt AND arrogant. And moving his family to Iowa to run in the presidential primaries didn’t win him any friends, either.

This is still a very blue state. Blumenthal may not be charismatic, but he’s been a popular AG and is generally seen as a straight-shooter. The Republicans are going to need a Scott Brown to pull it off, and none of the current announced candidates comes anywhere close.

Meredith on January 26, 2010 at 4:58 AM

The only thing keeping the generic ballot competitive is their 88-12 lead with African Americans and 67-27 one with Hispanics.

Actually, 12% of African Americans would be an improvement over previous elections for the GOP. Republicans could do much better if they proposed a school-voucher program enabling poor students to attend private schools, instead of being forced to attend failed inner-city public schools.

Minority parents who have managed to escape the ghettoes frequently send their children to private schools, because they know, probably better than white parents, that education is their ticket to success. I tutor high-school students in math and science, and have several black and Hispanic clients, all of whom send their children to private schools, and they are solidly pro-school-choice, not only for themselves, but for “children left behind” in the ghettoes.

School vouchers are very popular among minorities, but most Democrats have avoided them to avoid offending the public school teachers unions. By proposing a national “school-choice” program, Republicans could probably break even among black and Hispanic voters, while losing very few votes among public-school teachers, most of whom vote Democrat anyway.

If Republicans could re-take the House in 2010, and propose something like this in 2011, they could also put Obama in a difficult situation–would he dare oppose a measure that would benefit more African Americans than white people, out of loyalty to his party?

Why hasn’t Michael Steele seized upon this issue, which could be a clear winner for Republicans?

Steve Z on January 26, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Who thought that? Certainly not Eeyore.

Sultry Beauty on January 26, 2010 at 4:07 PM