39 Seats Away: Republicans Hungry to Take Back the House

As poll numbers widen, could we soon be looking at Majority Leader Boehner?

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Expectations of a 2010 GOP tsunami have peaked in the days after the primaries, but the essential question is still up for debate: will Republicans take control of the House of Representatives? The House is widely viewed as vulnerable, and Republicans are aggressively positioning themselves to pull off a political coup, with Representative John Boehner angling to become Speaker of the House. Democrats, for their part, have amassed a sizable financial advantage and appear to be hoping the ideological divide between Tea Partiers and the traditional Republican establishment will send independent voters back to the president's party. Pollsters and data-crunching pundits weigh in with their (early) November prognostications.

  • The GOP Goal Is Certainly Within Reach  Of the fifty House races that NPR political editor Ken Rudin deems "most significant," forty-six of them currently feature incumbent Democrats, many of which were swept into power during the anti-Bush, anti-Republican elections of 2006 and 2008. That trend has almost certainly been reversed: "Democrats are in trouble all over the map" and this year seems to echo 1994 and 2006 in that one party is "overwhelmingly" at risk in November.
  • The Republican Advantage Continues to Widen  The latest CQ-Roll Call survey finds, "an environment that continues to worsen for Democrats and new race ratings to reflect Republicans on the ascent." More specifically, writes Kyle Trygstad at Congressional Quarterly, it's telling that nearly all of the campaign dollars spent by Democrats will be on districts that they are trying to hold, not pick up.
  • Democrats Will Keep the House predicts Reid Wilson at Hotline. Despite the rumblings of a "Democratic apocalypse" the party is actually in relatively good shape in the lead-up to November. There are four reasons why: 1) Money: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has almost twice as much cash on hand than its GOP equivalent. 2) Turnout: Money brings advertisements and these can lead to early voting, which can mitigate Republican gains on election day. 3) Opposition Research: Reid believes the Democrats have an "unprecedented" dirt-digging team that can drive GOP negatives "through the roof." 4) Modeling: Right now, expectations are too high for the Republicans and the presumption of victory may drive down the margin of gains.
  • The Enthusiasm Gap Is the Difference  note Politico reporters Jim Vandehei, Alex Isentadt and Mike Allen."Two different sets of data show Republicans with a big advantage when it comes to getting the base fired up for this campaign. A new Gallup Poll out this week shows 46 percent of Republicans and just 23 percent of Democrats to be 'very enthusiastic' about voting." They also report that nearly 3 million more Republicans than Democrats have showed up to the polls this primary season, which doesn't bode well for election day this November.
  • The GOP Will Win, But Won't Know What to Do After  grumbles Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "There's a decent chance that the Dems could indeed lose the House. And I think the consequences of that would be dire both for the country and, perhaps surprisingly, for the Republican Party." The problem, he concurs, is that the Republicans who are likely to get elected aren't the type who value compromise. "Their base has given them no room whatsoever in which to manuever, and they know it...The situation will make the Gingrich-Clinton standoff seem calm placid by comparison."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.