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

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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