Publicly and privately, Republicans have been upbeat about the midterm outlook, saying voter unrest demonstrated at meetings this summer coupled with strong candidate recruitment have them highly optimistic about capturing 40 or more Democratic seats and resuming command of the House. They are talking confidently about knocking off such old bulls as Representatives David R. Obey of Wisconsin and Ike Skelton of Missouri, the chairmen of the Appropriations and Armed Services Committees.

“In terms of candidate recruitment, fund-raising and issue development, we are far ahead of where we were at this point in 1993 — and you remember what happened in 1994,” Representative Pete Sessions, the Texan who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the conservative Web site Human Events…

“There is reason for Republican optimism on what the year is going to look like, but I don’t think there is reason for euphoria,” said Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report. “Forty seats is still a long haul. I think they are overexuberant on this right now. Waves take time to build.”