Thursday, September 9, 2010

GOP could win 15-seat majority in House and control Senate

If the Democrats’ worst-case scenario comes true on Nov. 2, according to top election prognosticators, they won’t just lose the majority in both chambers of Congress, but in the House, the GOP could potentially end up with a 15-seat majority.

Republicans in the House need to net 39 seats to win control. Race predictor Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report says the GOP gaining 55 seats is “quite possible,” Dr. Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia says Republicans could pick up as many as 47 seats and the Cook Political Report says the GOP will win at least 35 seats.

“The worst case Election Day scenario for Democrats is losing both the House and Senate to the GOP,” says Isaac Wood, an editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “Just a few months ago neither of these seemed poised to change hands and even now many are wondering if the Senate is really in play. The economic news keeps getting worse for Democrats and if it continues on that path, we could be moving towards that worst-case scenario.”

As for the Senate, Sabato acknowledged last week for the first time that Republicans have a shot — even though the chances are not good — at winning a majority in the upper chamber by picking up the 10 seats needed to win control. Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report also wrote that “the possibility of a GOP takeover is growing,” arguing the GOP has six seats in the bag with chances to win in states like Colorado, California, Wisconsin, Washington and Nevada.

While these election analysts doubt the GOP can pull it off, in a worst-case scenario, the Republicans could win the Senate plus two seats to spare. “The absolute highest they could go is a 12-seat gain,” Wood said, while stipulating that it was a “very unlikely scenario.”

These positive prognostications for the GOP come on the heels of other positive news for the Party: In the history of Gallup polling, Republicans have never held as wide a margin over Democrats as they do now, according to the results of last week’s generic poll of party preferences of registered voters. An ABC News/Washington Post poll this week shows Republicans leading Democrats by 13 percent, the widest GOP margin since 1981 for the poll.

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