Sabato: Every time the House has flipped …

posted at 4:32 pm on September 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Kathryn Jean Lopez looks at the latest analysis from political prognosticator Larry Sabato, who has decided that he has been too conservative in his estimation of the chances for a Republican takeover of the House.  The GOP needs a 39-seat switch to retire Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, and until now, Sabato has kept his predictions to the 30-and-under range.  Taking into account the nosediving fortunes of Democrats both nationally and in each district, Sabato now sees a likelihood of Republican control of the House:

Given what we can see at this momentRepublicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. This is a “net” number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana. This estimate, which may be raised or lowered by Election Day, is based on a careful district-by-district analysis, plus electoral modeling based on trends in President Obama’s Gallup job approval rating and the Democratic-versus-Republican congressional generic ballot (discussed later in this essay). If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.

Don’t just skip over that cautionary note at the end.  Anything can happen in the next few weeks to stall Republican momentum nationwide, or in individual races.  The GOP is especially vulnerable to sudden shifts since they have so many fresh faces running for Congress this year, and inexperienced candidates can make mistakes.  Activists and organizers need to keep their energy and efforts up.

Assuming that the GOP maintains momentum, Sabato has another interesting point about the history of changes in control of the House:

If the Republican wave on November 2 is as large as some polls are suggesting it may be, then the surprise on election night could be a full GOP takeover. Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time, the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency.

A couple of caveats on that, too.  First, the previous Senate flips didn’t require as many seats to change parties as it does this year.  Sabato has increased his prediction of net Republican gain in the upper chamber to eight seats, possibly nine.  The latter would set up a 50-50 tie, unless Ben Nelson of Nebraska decided to flip and save himself from a Republican challenge in 2012. Also, the GOP has the same exposure to game-changing errors in Senate races from rookies, and much less margin of error in terms of winning control.  Republicans will have to nearly run the table to make it happen.

But for the first time, Sabato doesn’t think an outright win for Republicans in the Senate is out of the question.  And in this case, history could be on their side.

Update: The Cook Report has also adjusted its outlook for Republicans upward:

At some point in every election cycle, the outlook for the Senate begins to look more like a mathematical equation and less like a collection of individual races. With 61 days to go before the election, we’ve now hit that point. The math equation for the Senate is divided into two parts; the macro political environment, and the 37 races on the ballot this year. The macro political landscape strongly favors Republicans and it is not likely that it will change much between now and November. As a result, a look at the 37 Senate races on the ballot shows some deterioration for Democrats in some of the 19 seats they are defending, while Republicans’ prospects have stayed the same or improved slightly in their most competitive seats. As such, it is now likely that Republicans will score a net gain of between seven and nine seats. While there is a plausible argument for how Republicans could net the 10 seats they need to win the majority, it remains an unlikely scenario today.

That 7-9 range will still be a big win — and don’t forget that Democrats have more seats to defend in 2012 than Republicans.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I wonder if we’ll have another “Jim Jeffords” episode.

Tony737 on September 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

This will be all-out war. The Dems and MFM will stop at nothing because everything is at stake. We will see dirty tricks, slander, libel, and lies like never before.

IMO this will push the Dems upward a little, rotten as it is to think about. We’ll take the House but I don’t see more than +50. Senate, I don’t see more than a tie at best like Sabato says.

You think Dems are in a bad mood now, wait till Nov. 3.

Bat Chain Puller on September 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Nothing is going to flip unless folks get there on Election Day, crawl over broken glass and throw the bastards out.

Bruno Strozek on September 2, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Waterloo…Armageddon…Hiroshima…Custer…take your pick.

right2bright on September 2, 2010 at 4:41 PM

I’m going to pop a huge bowl of popcorn on election night and sit watching the returns with a scorecard. I literally can’t wait!

Jill1066 on September 2, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Larry’s had a very good track record over the past 4 election cycles, but that might mean that he’s due to blow one.

Del Dolemonte on September 2, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Remember the timing of the Mark Foley story.
If ANY GOP congress critters have any skeletons in their closets that have potential to be found by the MFM and libs, look for it soon.

carbon_footprint on September 2, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Is Journ-O-list still up and running or what? This isn’t simple political reportage, this is a definite concerted effort from across the left wing media to scare their base to the polls.

American Elephant on September 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The fear that will set in if the demonrats hold both the House and the Senate is incomprehensible. The thought of Obama running unchecked through bill after bill of destruction for our country and our economy could be the end of a way of life that this nation has preserved since the founding fathers. NOvember could easily be the most important election in our nation’s history.

volsense on September 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Anything can happen in the next few weeks to stall Republican momentum nationwide, or in individual races.

Or they could unveil their contract (unleash the hounds!) and blast through the finish line.

John the Libertarian on September 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I wonder if we’ll have another “Jim Jeffords” episode.

Tony737 on September 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

Joe Lieberman
Ben Nelson
Jon Tester
Jim Webb

Any or all of these could decide to caucus with the GOP. The Republicans could get Lieberman if they promise he will keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. Not much diff between him and Susan Collins anyway, and Collions might rather have Small Business. I don’t see any Republicans tempted to cross over, not after this election. Specter was the last one they will ever get.

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Trigger the vote! This is one suspenseful vote we can’t afford to be sitting home on.

fourdeucer on September 2, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Remember the timing of the Mark Foley story.
If ANY GOP congress critters have any skeletons in their closets that have potential to be found by the MFM and libs, look for it soon.

carbon_footprint on September 2, 2010 at 4:44 PM

There has been a rumor for a while that the Dems are holding a story about some high-ranking Repub having an affair with a female lobbyist. May even be more than one. Not sure I believe it; if they had something like this they should have played it by now and hammered the GOP with it during the recess like they did with Foley in 2006.

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Jim Webb

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I have always found Webb confusing… He doesn’t look like a liberal at all (you know what liberals look like), yet there he is voting with them. Its bizarre.

El_Terrible on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

There has been a rumor for a while that the Dems are holding a story about some high-ranking Repub having an affair with a female lobbyist. May even be more than one. Not sure I believe it; if they had something like this they should have played it by now and hammered the GOP with it during the recess like they did with Foley in 2006.

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Are you sure it isn’t the same “McCain had an affair!” BS that the NY Times pushed in 2008 warmed over or perhaps a new twist on the “Ensign had an affair” crap?

Frankly, I think they went all-out in toasting a lot of the scandal-tinged Republicans in 2006 and 2008 between Foley, Larry Craig, and others.

teke184 on September 2, 2010 at 4:55 PM

There has been a rumor for a while that the Dems are holding a story about some high-ranking Repub having an affair with a female lobbyist.

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

The McCain story just won’t die, will it?

Vashta.Nerada on September 2, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Larry Ssbato is a dem and has shortchanged all his estimates, even when polls were suggesting a seachange was at work. Now, in order to maintain credibility he has upped his estimates. Cook is more reliable. Try to get readings from internal polling and the coming election is going to be a disaster for the dems…..count on it.

tomshup on September 2, 2010 at 4:58 PM

A strong minority is better than a weak majority…………every time!

lilium on September 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Waiter, more pudding!

Emperor Norton on September 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Late breakign stories of affairs with lobbyists just aren’t going to cut it this cycle. It’d be like sticking a tricycle out in front of a semi lumbering down the high way. People are too angry.

Missy on September 2, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Cook is more reliable.

Cook is definitely going further out than Sabato. They’re both Dems though.

Missy on September 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM

Society has taught me that I must not cry. I shall cry the tears of victory if this happens.

Chuck Schick on September 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM

El_Terrible on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Webb certainly doesn’t have the background of a Liberal. He is confusing…especially when Bush asked about his kid and he gets all snotty about it.

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:03 PM

I don’t believe that a sex scandal just before Nov. would do much damage this time. Most voters who are thinking about voting for an R just want someone who will stop the bleeding and put the public sector back in the box. If a story is released, barring that it is with a 12 year old boy, I think the best line would be “I did not have sex with that woman”. How could any reporter not fall on the floor laughing?

inspectorudy on September 2, 2010 at 5:03 PM

All we need now is a few House and Senate democrats to switch parties. That would totally demoralize democrats.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

I have always found Webb confusing… He doesn’t look like a liberal at all (you know what liberals look like), yet there he is voting with them. Its bizarre.

El_Terrible on September 2, 2010 at 4:50 PM

He had a big fight with Bush 43 and ran to spite him. And is still spiting him.

Of course, he did the same thing with Reagan, so I don’t expect Mr Gravitas to calm down any time soon…

18-1 on September 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Our very own Snarlin’ Arlen Spectors??

No thanks…..

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Cook is definitely going further out than Sabato. They’re both Dems though.

Missy on September 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM

And Sabato personally took part in the attack on George Allen. How anyone can consider him to be impartial astounds me.

18-1 on September 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Webb certainly doesn’t have the background of a Liberal. He is confusing…especially when Bush asked about his kid and he gets all snotty about it.

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Webb is my Senator. The guy’s a basket case. Plus, he never answers his mail.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

my “one & done” freshman Dem Congressman, Tom Perriello, said this morning at a townhall that he would vote for Pelosi again as Speaker.

really. buy a clue buddy. And Perriello lives in Sabato’s district.

Robert Hurt for Congress!

kelley in virginia on September 2, 2010 at 5:06 PM

I have no hope for Webb to do anything positive except relinquish his seat.

kelley in virginia on September 2, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Our very own Snarlin’ Arlen Spectors??

No thanks…..

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

I see your point. I’m thinking however, that a GOP win of the House, especially a big win, could entice democrats to vote for bills like ObamaCare repeal.

Even in the Senate I could see several democrats who know damn well how mad the public is, siding with the Repubs on tax cuts, spending cuts, deregulation and even repeal of ObamaCare.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Webb is my Senator. The guy’s a basket case. Plus, he never answers his mail.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Hey, I’m not saying he isn’t a LibSpaz…I’m just saying it’s kind of strange that he is one.

I’ll see your ‘Jim Webb’ and raise you one ‘Al Franken’…with an Amy Klobechar kicker.

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Hey, I’m not saying he isn’t a LibSpaz…I’m just saying it’s kind of strange that he is one.

BigWyo on September 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM

I expected more from Webb. I never hear anything about the guy. Could be he’s shell shocked from Obama’s Marxist blitzkrieg.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:12 PM

I see your point. I’m thinking however, that a GOP win of the House, especially a big win, could entice democrats to vote for bills like ObamaCare repeal.

This. Tester, Nelson, and Webb, in particular, could do this because all three are up in 2012 and are in traditionally red states.

teke184 on September 2, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Even in the Senate I could see several democrats who know damn well how mad the public is, siding with the Repubs on tax cuts, spending cuts, deregulation and even repeal of ObamaCare.

darwin on September 2, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Exactly.

Vashta.Nerada on September 2, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Don’t just skip over that cautionary note at the end. Anything can happen in the next few weeks to stall Republican momentum nationwide, or in individual races.

Yeah…we could have another oil spill in the gulf or something.

BobMbx on September 2, 2010 at 5:18 PM

everyone needs to chill….the dems and their msm pr arm will go fully ballistic in October

the unions are going to spend 100M…god knows how much soros et al. is spending

this is a fight for the future…the left knows the stakes..they will not relent

r keller on September 2, 2010 at 5:19 PM

A strong minority is better than a weak majority…………every time!

lilium on September 2, 2010 at 4:59 PM

You know, see that and it reminds me of people saying “sometimes a loss is better than a win” It ain’t true. Winning is alway better than losing and being in the majority is always better than being in the minority.

What did our strong minority get in the last two years? The progressives passed unconstitutional Obamacare, they passed an ineffective and wasted stimulas which exceeded the total cost of the Iraq war, they takeover of auto companies, they passed financial reform so useless it didn’t even deal with Freddie and Fannie!

Strong minority? Double bullshit! It didn’t get us a damn thing.

Sorry for the rant.

WisRich on September 2, 2010 at 5:19 PM

oh, i forgot, O is probably planning to give a lot of money away in October too…loan forgiveness…whatever

r keller on September 2, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Also, sorry for the many spelling errors.

WisRich on September 2, 2010 at 5:20 PM

House + 50
Senate + 8

Tav on September 2, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Every time the House has flipped …

I was sure it was going to be “…an angel gets it’s wings.” But I like this better.

29Victor on September 2, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Where’s WashingtonsWake to tell us we’ll only pick up 35 in the House and 5 in the Senate, and the rats keep control?

Dominion on September 2, 2010 at 5:44 PM

I have no hope for Webb to do anything positive except relinquish his seat.

kelley in virginia on September 2, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Yep, and he can take Warner with him.

Oldnuke on September 2, 2010 at 5:50 PM

we can’t get too cocky….yet

cmsinaz on September 2, 2010 at 5:57 PM

The wave is building … you talk to anyone and you gte the same answer. I was at Walmart at noon, the place looked like a skating rink and the clerks looked like they had just been to a funeral.

Looks like Obammunism sinks all boats.

tarpon on September 2, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Sabato also noted that the forecast can change suddenly; in 1962 Reublicans were expected to gain significantly in the midterms, but the Cuban Missile Crisis rallied support for JFK and the democratics, by association. Dems only lost 4 in the House, and gained 2 in the Senate as a result.

(This is of course before it was realized that it all happened because of JFK’s incredible incompetence.)

Ref: Sabato’s Crystal Ball

slickwillie2001 on September 2, 2010 at 6:17 PM

29Victor on September 2, 2010 at 5:38 PM

heh, was thinking the same thing

cmsinaz on September 2, 2010 at 6:17 PM

Joe Lieberman
Ben Nelson
Jon Tester
Jim Webb

Any or all of these could decide to caucus with the GOP.

rockmom on September 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I think there’s absolutely zero chance of Tester switching parties. (The “progressives” here like Tester, and think Baucus is a DINO.) But there is a chance he could decide not to run again in ’12, and try to succeed Schweitzer (term limited) as governor that year.

acasilaco on September 2, 2010 at 6:52 PM

I’m really hoping for a political slaughter (metaphorically) unseen ever before in American politics. Why it would be downright historic.

Mojave Mark on September 2, 2010 at 6:53 PM

everyone needs to chill….the dems and their msm pr arm will go fully ballistic in October

the unions are going to spend 100M…god knows how much soros et al. is spending

this is a fight for the future…the left knows the stakes..they will not relent

r keller on September 2, 2010 at 5:19 PM

This is what scares the crap out of me. Because people who vote for the dems are just lost causes anyway.

Mirimichi on September 2, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Beware corruption of the election process.

The demons don’t have to win, they just have to create chaos. If they screw things up enough, the election decisions will go to the liberal-dominated courts, or may even be thrown out completely.

Guard the ballot boxes.

ZenDraken on September 2, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Only 61 days until the November 2 election. And many states have early voting beginning 30 days before election day.

Educate your liberal friends!

Activate your conservative friends!

We are in the home stretch now!

wren on September 2, 2010 at 8:29 PM

I’m going to pop a huge bowl of popcorn on election night and sit watching the returns with a scorecard. I literally can’t wait!

Jill1066 on September 2, 2010 at 4:41 PM

.
I’m going to flip back and forth between
the purple-faced, bulging-veins-in-forehead
knuckleheads on CNN and MSNBC.
Now, That’s Entertainment!

mrt721 on September 2, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Society has taught me that I must not cry. I shall cry the tears of victory if this happens.

Chuck Schick on September 2, 2010 at 5:02 PM

If the stuff that has gone on the last two years has not made you cry I think you may have a blockage of some kind. You should see a doctor.

petunia on September 3, 2010 at 12:15 AM

What did our strong minority get in the last two years? The progressives passed unconstitutional Obamacare, they passed an ineffective and wasted stimulas which exceeded the total cost of the Iraq war, they takeover of auto companies, they passed financial reform so useless it didn’t even deal with Freddie and Fannie!

Strong minority? Double bullshit! It didn’t get us a damn thing.

Sorry for the rant.

WisRich on September 2, 2010 at 5:19 PM

I agree. It is starting to make me really mad when people say Bush was just as bad! That is not true. Bush bent over backwards to keep the stupid traitors on board for the war. Okay he spent too much, but he had a lot of push from the Dems, who turned around and stabbed him in the back!

But look at what happens when the Democrats get complete control! The gates of hell open up and swallow our Republic! The entire world collapses!

This could be it for the country our forefathers founded!

If we can’t beat back socialism now it will happen next time we let them have power. They got so close. They had a plan and were ready to exploit the crisis and scare the rubes who voted for Obama into selling their souls into slavery.

If not for Fox and talk radio things would be far far different and we would be trying to figure out how we lost so much freedom so very fast. We would have never known the truth because the Pravda media would spin it as the only option.

People have got to reject the Obama, Pelosi, Reid way of governing as strongly as is humanly possible or they will try it again.

Liberal/socialism/communism has to be dead in America at the end of this election. Then we have to keep up the fight so we can bury this new slave ideology in 2012.

We have to start paying the bills in late November. I mean we have to make whatever sacrifice necessary to get us out of the financial mess we have allowed to happen. This is the consequence of being part of the me generation. Now those of us who never bought into it in the first place need to fix it.

petunia on September 3, 2010 at 12:31 AM