Jim Geraghty and Jay Cost: How does a 70+ seat pick-up tomorrow sound?

Alternate headline: “Pessimistic eeyoreblogger thisclose to a nervous breakdown.”

In the House, the projection is for the GOP to gain 70 seats: The GOP will win 76 House districts currently held by Democrats, and the Democrats will win 6 House seats currently held by Republicans, including a few surprises. Republican takeovers are in red; Democratic takeovers are in dark blue.

I can hear it now: “Jim’s been gargling with Maker’s Mark again.” But I actually played it fairly safe on this list. I predicted no GOP takeovers in states where the early voting looks pretty “meh,” such as West Virginia or Iowa.

Cost actually isn’t predicting a 70+ pick-up, merely noting that according to another statistician’s regression analysis, yesterday’s Gallup generic ballot blockbuster should mean something in the neighborhood of … 76 seats, precisely what Geraghty has. Quote: “In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1928 to find an election where the popular vote margin resembled anything close to what Gallup is predicting.”

The kicker? Gallup’s not the only pollster now pointing past 1994 and back to the 20s for an analog. Just out from Rasmussen:

Republicans have opened a 12-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, October 31, 2010. New Rasmussen Reports polling finds that 51% of Likely Voters nationwide plan to vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate, while 39% are opting for the Democrat.

If these results hold, it could lead to the election of more Republicans to Congress than at any time since the 1920s…

Republicans lead by 20 among men and by six percentage points among women. They lead by 20 among senior citizens and by 31 among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties.

Not only is 12 points tied for the biggest lead Republicans have ever had on the Rasmussen generic ballot poll, but if you follow the Ras link above and eyeball the right-hand column, you’ll see that they’ve never been above 50 percent during The One’s presidency — until right now. Looking at that Gallup poll last night and then Rasmussen’s this afternoon, I felt like Schwarzenegger at the end of “Predator” when the creature finally takes off its mask. Just staring at it, thinking … “What de hell ahh you?”

So gruesome is it, in fact, that the Democratic leadership has now apparently abandoned its pretense of holding the House and is talking openly about a “bloodbath” if the polls are accurate. Nate Silver is also preparing the faithful to absorb the blow by offering five reasons why the GOP’s gains might be even bigger than expected. (Note numbers two and five.) I can’t quite buy it, almost for congenital reasons: Until I see a 60+ gain with my own two eyes (“What de hell ahh you?”) my assumption is that it can’t and won’t happen. Too many reasons to think that the Dems can at least limit the damage: The GOP’s brand is still unpopular, Obama’s been begging young and minority voters for months to turn out, and the Dems have spent boatloads of money on ads. They’ll still get crushed, but I think it’ll be more like 54 seats in the House than 70+. Exit question: If it does end up being 70+ in the House, how does the GOP not take back the Senate too?