Current US House, 111th Congress:
256 D, 179 R
256 D, 179 R
Prediction: US House, 112th Congress:
221 D, 214 R
This post will be updated continuously through election day 2010.
10/13/10: Am I the last guy who thinks the Democrats can hold the House? Nope! I've got the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Um, hooray, I guess...
9/11/10: Currently, 3 out of 5 top prognosticators are forecasting that the GOP will take the House in 2010:
Nate Silver: GOP to net 46 seats -- Hew House 225 R, 210 D.
Cook Political Report: GOP to net 40 seats -- Hew House 219 R, 216 D.
Rothenberg: GOP to net 37 to 42 seats -- Hew House 219 D, 216 R to 221 R, 211 D.
Larry Sabato: GOP to net 47 seats -- Hew House 226 R, 209 D.
Election Projection: GOP to net 38 seats -- Hew House 218 D, 217 R.
I'm going to go a little more optimistic for the blue team: Republicans to gain 35 seats. Here's my reasoning.
1. Looking at the polls on a race-by-race basis gives a slightly brighter picture for the Democrats. For example: Nate Silver says there's a 74% chance that Democrat Bobby Bright will lose in AL-2. But a recent poll gave Bright a 9-point lead versus his Republican opponent. Ditto MS-1, NY-24, NC-8, and SD-AL, where again Nate gives Republicans challgengers a 50% or better chance of winning, but the polls tell a different story.
2. Ok, I'm a cheerleader for the Democrats, and I'm not going to give up until it looks completely hopeless. Admittedly, Nate Silver is just about never wrong (though in 2008, he predicted Indiana for John McCain, while I called it for Obama. HA!).
8/20/10: "It's the economy stupid." The generic ballot is looking pretty grim for Democrats. While America's combat mission in Iraq has ended, and the gulf oil spill has practically been forgotten by most of the country, the weak economy is leading the news cycle.
The likelihood that Democrats will lose a bunch of House seats in increasing. But I'm not as pessimistic as many. Here's why. The generic ballot shows Republicans with the advantage only in the south, where they already hold the lion's share of the seats. From msnbc: "But could those GOP electoral gains come from just one part of the country? The poll contains this interesting finding: The GOP has a HUGE generic-ballot edge in the South (52%-31%), but it doesn’t lead anywhere else. In the Northeast, Dems have a 55%-30% edge; in the Midwest, they lead 49%-38%; and in the West, it’s 44%-43%."
7/4/10: Happy Independence Day! Swing State Project has a post that gives us some food for thought. Among the Democratic incumbents, it rates 29 seats as Likely Dem, 34 as Lean Dem and 18 as Tossup. The tossups are: FL-08 (Grayson), OH-15 (Kilroy), NH-01 (Shea-Porter), PA-11 (Kanjorski) NV-03 (Titus), OH-01 (Driehaus), CO-04 (Markey), FL-24 (Kosmas), NY-23 (Owens), NY-24 (Arcuri), VA-05 (Perriello), NM-02 (Teague), IN-09 (Hill), VA-02 (Nye), MD-01 (Kratovil), MS-01 (Childers), AL-02 (Bright), ID-01 (Minnick).
Some thoughts: The list doesn't include ratings on the 17 Democratic seats that are open due to retirements. Some of those are tossups or even "lean Republican." Suppose we concede five of the open seats, half of the tossup incumbent Dem seats, and nine of the Lean Dem and Likely Dem seats while subtracting the three seats that Democrats are very likely to pickup this year. That still only gets us halfway to a GOP takeover of the House.
6/17/10: A mixed bag of news. On the one hand, the generic ballot doesn't look to bad, with a new AP poll showing Democrats with a 7-point edge. On the other hand, Nate Silver (who is right about pretty much everything all the time) this week said, "the over/under on the number of net Democratic losses is about 40 seats (i.e. they have about even odds of losing the House), with a 90 percent confidence interval of about +/- 20 seats." Ouch.
5/23/10: The GOP has picked up HI-01, but their 8-pt. loss in PA-12 doesn't bode well for Newt Gingrich's prediction that Republicans will pick up, "somewhere between 40 and 65 or 70 seats." (Incidentally, the fact that a slimeball like Gingrich would be back in the spotlight says a lot about the leadership vacuum on the Republican side). Republican Mark Souder (IN-03), yet another holier-than-thou hypocrite, has retired but his seat is safe. Democrat David Obey (WI-07) has retired, but it's a seat Obama carried by 14 points.
4/25/10: I'm guessing we'll probably lose MI-01, where conservative Democrat Bart Stupak is retiring. Michigan is trending red. We're also fairing poorly in New Hampshire, where we could lose both seats.
3/21/10: I'm removing AL-02 from my list of Republican takeovers. There's no indication that Bobby Bright is going to lose his reelection bid, despite the fact that McCain carried his district by 26 points in 2008. Bright must be some kind of magician. Also removing PA from my list of states to net one for the Democrats.
I realize that many pundits are predicting that the GOP will pick up more like 40 seats than the 5 I'm currently predicting. Here's the funny thing though. Those same pundits aren't saying where, exactly, these Republican victories are going to materialize. I actually feel like I'm being pretty generous in predicting that the GOP will pick off the Democratic incumbents in ID-01, MD-01, and either IN-08 or IN-09. Currently, there's no indication that those races are any worse than toss ups for the blue team. As we get closer to election day, I suppose we'll start seeing more polls showing specific Democrats in trouble. But again, I refuse to announce that the blue team is going to get creamed until I see the race-by-race poll numbers to demonstrate it.
If there's one thing upon which everyone can agree, it's that the Democratic Party will lose seats in the House in the 2010 elections. Let's start by considering the advantages that the Republican party has going into November.
* Here's the big one: current polls demonstrate that conservatives are far more energized than progressives regarding the coming election.
* There are a limited number of vulnerable Republican seats just because the party has fallen so far, it doesn't have much more to lose. They've lost a whopping 55 seats since 2006.
* While the economy is growing again, unemployment is likely to remain high through 2010.
* Historically, the party that holds the White House loses seats in mid-term elections.
While the Democrats will be playing defense, they will also have some advantages:
* Democrats still have a small lead in the generic ballot, and their congressional leaders are more popular than the GOP's.
* While the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats has held steady or risen slightly over the past several years, the percentage identifying themselves as Republicans has plummeted, from 30% in 2004 to only 23% today.
* As I've noted in recent posts, the GOP is engaged in a "purity war" between its tea-party conservatives and more moderate elements. This "circular firing squad" wastes resources they could be using to attack Democrats.
* Speaking of resources, the Republican party is not currently raising the kind of money it needs to wage war on a large number of Democratic incumbents.
To summarize, the Democratic Party would like to keep its losses small enough to continue to be able to push through legislation in the House next year, then regain momentum heading in 2012. They also have high hopes of gaining some advantage in the 2011 decennial reapportionment of Congressional seats. Democrats currently hold much stronger representation in some states in which Republicans controlled redistricting in 2001. In that year, states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas re-drew their congressional maps so as to eliminate as many Democrats as possible.