Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Look Reasonable

If Democrats pickup thirty-seats (or more) in the House this election, they will have a larger majority than Republicans have had since 1946. With all the talk of the supposedly invulnerable Republican political machine over the past few years, the thirty-seat target has been in the back of my head since 2005 because it would be the most humiliating defeat possible. If Democrats can win more seats than Republicans won during their so-called "revolution," then a lot will change when it comes to media narratives on the two parties, images of the two parties, and psyches of party activists on both sides. However, while I have long dreamed of 30+ seats, only in the last week or so has such a large gain actually become realistic. For starters, even Republicans are admitting that thirty seats is realistic:GOP Officials Brace for Loss Of Seven to 30 House Seats

Republican campaign officials said yesterday that they expect to lose at least seven House seats and as many as 30 in the Nov. 7 midterm elections, as a result of sustained violence in Iraq and the page scandal involving former GOP representative Mark Foley. If Republicans are placing their maximum house losses at thirty seats, then the maximum number of losses might even be higher. The NRCC has conducted surveys in more than forty Republican-held districts since July 1st, reflective of their fear of huge losses.

The latest House rankings from the Cook Political Report (PDF) also reflect the possibility of a huge wave. Currently, the report lists three Republican-held seats as "lean Democratic," twenty-five as "toss-ups," and fifteen more as only "lean Republican." By contrast, only nine Democratic-held seats are in the "lean" category, and none are in "toss-up." This makes for an overall Democratic advantage of twenty-eight seats when it comes to the districts most likely to switch control, and thirty-four seats in the broader view. Certainly, a thirty-four seat pickup would not be very likely in this forecast, but it is not outside the range of possibility.

Another indicator is, which only uses the most recent independent polls in House district forecasts. Currently, this indicator shows Republicans ahead in 215 districts, and behind in 219. However, they do not list polls in numerous competitive districts, including CA-04, CA-11, CO-05, CT-05, ID-01, KS-02, MN-01, NY-19, NY-25, NY-29, NC-08, OH-01, OH-15, PA-04, and WI-08. Every district I just listed has recently produced an internal poll either showing the Democrat in the race ahead, tied, or within the margin of error. Again, while it is in the upper-range of possibilities, a thirty-seat takeover is clearly on the table now.

I feel a little strange writing this post, because I have held this thirty-seat fantasy so close to my vest for so long. Now that it is out in the open, I worry that somehow by saying it I guarantee that it won't happen. I should also say that I will of course that any Democratic majority, even if it is only one or two seats. In the extended entry, there is a poll asking you how many seats you think Democrats will pick up this year.

Tags: election forecasts, House 2006 (all tags)



Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House

I'm predicting about 20-22 seats.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-10-10 10:26AM | 0 recs
I am predicting between 35 and 50

That isn't a wave you seen on the horizon, it is a tsunami.  It looks small, but that is deceptive.  

by Delaware Dem 2006-10-10 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: I am predicting between 35 and 50

Do you think perhaps Dennis Spivack Delaware's next congressman is one of those 35-50 new house democrats?

by Joshua Sperati 2006-10-10 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House

I was going to say exactly this when I saw your post!

I think 20 is conservative and 25 is the liberal estimate. Thirty would be radical!

Over thirty would really be a revolution.

I expect 20-22, which will cause Karl Rove to weep tears of blood and savagely beat his leather-slave with a riding crop: 1_rudepundit_archive.html "This savage season (Featuring the Return of Karl Rove's Leather Slave)".

by Cugel 2006-10-10 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

Didn't the GOP pick up 54 seats in 1994?

by Epitome22 2006-10-10 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

Yes, but that was 54 added onto the 176 they held before the election - putting them at a total 230. If Democrats win 30 or more seats in this election, they will hold more total seats than Republicans have held since '94.

by allpaintedcold 2006-10-10 10:34AM | 0 recs
Four weeks is an eternity of course

alot of time for the GOP to recover, the only upside is that it is a big hole to dig out from.

That said, brace for an emergency session of congress to bolster the GOP and embarrass us DEMS,
the sudden re-emergence of OBL in a way that will make it look like only the GOP will do anything about him
a vicious negative attack machine and an all too complicit MSM
getting back for Foley by smearing a DEM on a national scale
Rove being cut open and Alien jumping out to finish the job.

Chris, never speak of this prediction again until 11/8.  Keeping telling everyone to work their asses off, that we're just shy of a majority and we need all hands on deck.

by gasperc 2006-10-10 10:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Four weeks is an eternity of course

Emergency session? Yes, please!

No way the GOP candidates can leave the campaign trail now ...

by BriVT 2006-10-10 11:05AM | 0 recs
I disagree--keep on predicting it!

Of course, WE need to work like we're five points down, but any time the voting public can hear that the Democrats might win big this year, it's good. It makes Democrats more likely to want to go vote, swing voters more likely to vote Democratic, and Republicans more likely to say "The hell with it, they deserve to lose this year anyway" and stay home.

Activists shouldn't have any trouble motivating ourselves anyway, because the Senate is still razor-close and is going to go down to the wire no matter what Republicans are caught doing between now and then.

by tjekanefir 2006-10-10 12:12PM | 0 recs
Four Weeks

Is time to score even bigger.  Democrats have a tendency to defeatism.  We have to think positive.  We have to believe that we are going to win and win big, not hope, but believe.  We have to tell ourselves that the more time left, the better.  Remember, it is the other guys that are trying to run out the clock on before the Foley investigation is completed.  It is the other guys that are hoping that Kim Jong Il doesn't set off another nuke to thumb his nose at the impotent superpower.  It is the other guys that are hoping that nobody else who heard George Allen say "nigger" comes out of the woodwork.  It is the other guys hoping that Hastert's financial scandals don't come to light.  It is the other guys trying to hold together their unholy alliance long enough to not be seen in partisan bickering going down to the wire.

It is the other guys trying to run out the clock so they can limit their losses to a slim Dem majority in the House and hold on to their own majority in the Senate.

If Democrats are going to win, they have to learn to play aggressive.  We have to think in terms of scoring bigger.  Dean has said that the map is expanding, even as the Republicans "firewall" fallback position retreats by the day.

Four weeks is an eternity in politics.  Let's make that an eternity of very long days for the GOP.

by journeyman 2006-10-10 10:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

"they will have a larger majority than Republicans have had since 1946."  

That is an amazing characterization.  Although I do not expect it to happen at present, if it does, that is the message everyone should use once we know it has happened.  

by hilltopper 2006-10-10 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Sta

I am hoping for 30+, but my head tells me we will pick up 18 or 19.  

by IsThisOverYet 2006-10-10 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Sta

Picking up 18 or 19 would be great.  But what if you're over-optimistic, even a little bit?  Let's say Dems pick up 15, meaning still no majority.  As impressive as a 15 point swing would be, it would still be viewed as an all-out disaster.

This won't be as easy as people want to make it.  It's time to bear down.

by MJPacino 2006-10-10 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Sta

15 would be a majority. 15 is all we need, in fact.

by Shawn 2006-10-10 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup

Okay, this is the best reason I've read to persevere; the idea that the influx of new candidates will shake up the Democratic leadership in DC hadn't occurred to me.  I figured they'd take credit for it and just keep on doing what they were doing.

by Kimmitt 2006-10-10 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup

Huge change. You'd have dozens of new Democrats, all elected in a time when fighting back was encouraged and rewarded.

Also, if the Senate flips, not only will you replace Dewine with Brown, Burns with Tester, etc ... but you'd have replacements like Bernie for Jeffords. And maybe Lamont for Lieberman. Bernie for Jeffords alone moves the Senate left.

It would be a far different Washington.

by BriVT 2006-10-10 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup

Nevertheless we'll be stuck with Senator Carper for 6 more long years.

by Joshua Sperati 2006-10-10 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup

You buzz killer!

by BriVT 2006-10-10 03:25PM | 0 recs
It will be our 1994

In 1994, the Republican party was much different than today's Republican party.  The Gingrich gang made many changes, moving the party to the right.  The same will probably happen if we win by a similar margin.

by Geotpf 2006-10-10 04:15PM | 0 recs
Well, the newcomers will...

...move the Democratic party to the left.  You know what I mean.

by Geotpf 2006-10-10 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

LOL. I see you've warmed up to this expansion idea since I last posted on this an hour or so ago. I didn't state my prediction out of fear of causing a nasty stir, but,what the hell, at this point my forecast model has us picking up 30-62 seats, and barely the Senate. And,I'm not even close to being a jaded optimist, its not my nature. I fully expect I'll be downgrading those figures by Nov 7th. Its a snapshot in time for now.

by Predictor 2006-10-10 10:53AM | 0 recs
Chris Love

"I have held this thirty-seat fantasy so close to my vest for so long ... I worry that somehow by saying it I guarantee that it won't happen."

Chris, I don't know you, but I love you.  I love you because you are so neurotic and somewhat superstitious.  It's adorable!  I love how you give yourself godlike power to change the course of an election by your mere words.  Silly Chris -- there's no need to worry!  Don't you know that nothing you, or any other progressive blogger, has to say could ever have a hope of swaying public discourse or action?

No, Chris, the only thing that can greatly affect people are truly PROFOUND words from real LEADERS.

Remember, Chris, that Together, We Can Do Better.

And if we just stay on-message with that, we'll be sure to not lose too many seats come November.  Victory!

by Ms Bluezone 2006-10-10 10:56AM | 0 recs
But really ...

I don't want to jinx it any more than Chris does, but I feel that there are all kinds of races that don't show up on anyone's lists where truly weird and wonderful things are happening.  

Four weeks is a long time, but if things keep going like this, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple of seats going Dem that haven't even been on the boards to date.  (NE-03, for example?)

That's me being overly optimistic.  The other side of me fully expects that BushCo has OBL in custody right now, but they'll pull him out Nov. 1 and parade him around for a week, also revealing that Nancy Pelosi is carrying his love child.

I don't know ... I'm so torn.

by Ms Bluezone 2006-10-10 11:05AM | 0 recs
55 Seat Pickup!

You don't have to worry about being disappointed, Chris.  I'm predicting a 55 seat pickup.  Larger than the GOP's net gain in 1994. So, if anyone's going to be disappointed, let it be me.

OTOH, if I'm right, then you really won't be able to recognize Washington once the new class gets sworn in.  And right now, who can tell?

Regardless of anything else that will happen between now and election day, the impact of Foleygate along is still impossible to tell.  Digby thinks it won't matter at all to the faithful religious base.  OTOH, we've all seen the generic ballot polls leap into the 20s.  Have they already weathered the storm?  Or is the scandal destroying the temper of the GOP beneath the surface, so that "minor" issues they previously shrugged off will now bite hard with voters?   Frankly, no one can tell.  But I've made my prediction, and it's done.

Does this mean I'm sending a message to slack off?  Hardly!  I think the prospect of a landslide should make people even more excited, even more motivated.  And if we do win a landslide, is that any reason to slack off?  Again, Hardly! Because then we've got to dig in and do the really hard work--the work of governing in the face of a would-be-dictatorial Administration.

    This ain't no party.  This ain't no disco.  This ain't no foolin' around.
      --Talking Heads, "Life During Wartime."

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-10 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: 55 Seat Pickup!

For me personally, you're exactly right about the prospect of a landslide making me more excited and more motivated!

by forecaster15 2006-10-10 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: 55 Seat Pickup!

Foley's impact isn't on Fundies.  It is on (mostly suburban) women and white Catholics, to whom this has the whiff of the priest abuse scandal and how it was handled.  See Hotline

And then click to their latest--R's throwing money at OH-02, CA-04 etc.  It's hard for me to see how we coould get more than 32-35, I'm still hoping for 24-28.  But I'm ok with 30.

by Mimikatz 2006-10-10 12:39PM | 0 recs
Paris, 1968: Be Realistic, Demand The Impossible!

The Foley scandal was unforeseeable ahead of time, too.

At least half the seats now in play were totally off the radar in January.

I believe hope is a better and stronger motivator than fear.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-11 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

What seems to be conspicuously missing from all of these projections is the issue of voter fraud, and the great lengths that the opposition has been going to for the past six years or more to sway election results via, at the minimum, voter suppression efforts.

These polls and projections are based on one thing; voter's votes actually getting counted.

I suggest that that part of the equation is not being factored in to these discussions.

It's a very real issue as the past six years have evidenced.

When Republican Secretaries of State and their cronies at Diebold, ESS and the like are the ones responsible for counting the votes, how likely is it that all of the opposing votes will actually get counted fairly, or worse, flipped in their favor.

Fresno, CA

by simon 2006-10-10 11:49AM | 0 recs
voter fraud

What can be done about it?

If the Republicans do significantly better in areas where they control the election apparatus the game will be exposed.

by Carl Nyberg 2006-10-10 12:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

We will win the Governor's race in OH, PA, NY and many other states, so investigations can be launched, unlike 2004.  That is a big disincentive.

by Mimikatz 2006-10-10 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

It's one thing when all you have to do is rig Florida and Ohio for a Presidential campaign, and you have Ken Blackwell to handle the fraud in Ohio and the President's brother holding down the fort in Florida.

It's quite another when you have to handle the entire country. There are certainly areas of concern, but there are so many competitive seats that the GOP simply can't cover them all.

Just by sheer numbers they are going to be surprised in some districts.

Here in Colo. the Repubs are already writing off CO-7 and CO-4 isn't all that great for Musgrave.

Who'd've thunk it? Republicans are saying that Bush and the Republicans in Congress are in trouble because they ignored his base. Whether they turn out and vote at all is an open question.

I'm not talking the fundie-sheeple who will do whatever they're told. But there are lots of other Conservative Republlicans who are NOT happy, Of course, they're unhappy for reasons unrelated to what the rest of us want, but the fact remains. . .

by Cugel 2006-10-10 04:31PM | 0 recs
a proposal

Let's assume that winning a huge number of House seats is possible, many more than Beltway CW thinks.

Can we figure out which seats would be "in play" in a landslide year?

Let's create an Act Blue page for these campaigns.

What should the list be called? "Stretch the Field"? "Blue-nami"? "Tsunami of Blue"?

by Carl Nyberg 2006-10-10 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: a proposal

Click on Chris' House forecast over to the right.  Look at his Tier 1.5 through 3.  Those are the seats.  It is hard to gauge which are going to b the ones to flip, but look where the GOP is putting its money.  Go to Real Clear Politics and look at who they think is vulnerable.  

Then just go to Act Blue and give to a few.

by Mimikatz 2006-10-10 12:46PM | 0 recs
25-30 sets is what we need for effective control

I would have no emotional attachments at all to the numbers.  It's just what's practical.  I would like to see more, but don't expect it.

In some cases I fear what Simon fears. But if we control the house, we can control the "qualifications" of the members and at least invesitgate the elections.

by Reptile 2006-10-10 12:09PM | 0 recs

     Which should be enough to hold the House until the 2012 redistricting. Most of them will come in the Northeast and Great Lakes area.

by Ron Thompson 2006-10-10 12:19PM | 0 recs

My pick: 35.  The GOP may recover a little from their 20 point deficit, but not by much.  People have made up their minds already.  The Administration has pulled so many shenanigans over the years, there is little or nothing they can come up with at this point to make people change their minds.  There is not October surprise that can fix this.

And as the idea of a big Democratic victory gets tossed around in the press, it will encourage more people to vote for the Dems, and more GOP voters to stay home.  People like backing a winner.

by Bear83 2006-10-10 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

Of course, the "admission" by the GOP may be just to scare their ranks into holding their noses and marching to the polls en masse.

by Queer Texan 2006-10-10 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: An interesting finding by Rassmussen

I've never heard this question polled before, but the lastest Rassmussen poll of Casey (50) vs Santorum (37) apparently asked voters if control of the US Senate hinged on your vote would you vote D or R? An amazing 50% said they'd vote Dem and 40% R.

Given that in Pennsylvania, 40% is about the R base,
that percent strikes me as about right, but if half the voters are using "GOP control" somewhere or somehow in their decision process, I think that is really scary news for the Republicans. After all, these voters aren't just going to be voting for Senate.

by phillydem 2006-10-10 12:31PM | 0 recs
30 Would be Great!


I'm wondering to what extent you have any fears about Diebold?  For all of your hard work (and the work of others)  we will have lots of info about how the votes SHOULD turn out. Is there a machine in place for exit polling that you are aware of in place?

Is there someone in particular you recommend who is working on voting integrity?  

Thanks for all you do!

by USAagain 2006-10-10 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

I've long been holding onto a gain of 23, just based on gut feel.  If conditions are the same next week as they are now, I'm about to move it to 31.   Prime numbers, for some reason, my gut finds attractive.

by InigoMontoya 2006-10-10 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

I've been saying 10-20 seats in the House, 6 in the Senate, and 6 Govs.
Narrow majority or minority in both houses.  I predict a few more gains in 2008, too, particularly in the Senate.

That said, atleast 30 would be amazing, and I hope its possible.  I'm gonna go conservative on this one, though, and stay at 10-20.

by jallen 2006-10-10 01:41PM | 0 recs
My only hesitation

How many of these right-leaning indies and moderate R's are going to cross over?

What I'm asking is how frustrated are they? We know the hypocritical far-right won't give a crap.

Their level of frustration may determine whether we gain a narrow majority (218-223 seats) or a serious working majority (224 seats or more).

Although we're really motivated, my sense is the far-right's "disgust" is just a bluff and they'll GOTV just as hard.

That question is the only thing which holds me back from making the leap and saying we'll gain over fifty seats.

by dpinzow 2006-10-10 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo

Important to not understate the money advantage.

Chris, I notice you do your money calculations with money on hand - without calulating the money that will be dumped in various races.  Kos details that here.

Of course, I know you've seen this.  But what about the financial impact of the tens of millions the Repub committee have?

by jc 2006-10-10 02:35PM | 0 recs
15 seats is just as likely

Interesting that TPM has a note on the nrcc dumping a bunch more money into races, and one of them is the Francine Busby/MIA brian bilbray race.  Maybe that one is still up for grabs too.

by DuckmanGR 2006-10-10 03:33PM | 0 recs
Big odds available at over 29.5

I expect the pickup to be in the teens. No way I'm ejecting the long held and logical theory that fewer House seats are in play and therefore prospect for a tsunami is dramatically reduced. Again, everything tends to drift back to the beginning.

If the news were runaway positive for our side as opposed to negativity toward the GOP, my opinion and forecast might be different. No one will ever convince me you win elections with a vote-against dependency. It was clearly demonstrated here that the GOP won huge in '94 and also big in '02 and '04 via superior turnout, in fact turnout levels Democrats have never threatened in a midterm. There was a PEW study in October '04 indicating Bush supporters had higher level of enthusiasm for him than any candidate PEW had surveyed since Reagan in '84. Wake me up when Democrats realize ABB was runaway idiocy, not a threat of a foundation and it residues to cycles like this. I hope the massive turnout happens this year but since our message is not clear and we are depending on the other side not showing up, I just can't project that vote-against strategy to pay dull dividend.

BTW, for those proposing a 30+ seat gain, try your luck on Tradesports. They put up levels of Democratic gain in the House, over .5,  over 4.5, over 9.5, over 14.5, over 19.5, over 24.5, over 29.5. Very low trading volume right now and not many contracts available so I don't want to specifiy too many numbers, but the last trade at over 29.5 was at 11, which means 11 to win 89. So you guys are looking at a huge payoff if your runaway optimism is correct.

Of course, I realize it's always words and not dollars on these sites. I found that out the hard way via winning man-to-man wagers in '02 and '04 then the other poster disappears. That's another beauty of the markets and the offshore sites. They pay.

by Gary Kilbride 2006-10-10 04:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Big odds available at over 29.5

I always get annoyed when I see people bloviating over idiotic things like Tradesport trading averages.

This has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with anything except what gamblers will wager on who will win political races.

It has far less credibility than the average fantasy football cretin's Sunday picks.

Whatever makes anyone think that such things are a way to handicap races, as if what some gamblers think has any validity in predicting the outcome of Congressional races?

They have no more idea than anyone else what will happen! It's certainly NOT indicative of the general public.

by Cugel 2006-10-10 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Thirty-Seat Pickup In The House Starting To Lo
I would love it if we picked up 30 seats.  That would be one of the best days for America.
I, however, am so hoping Tammy Duckworth wins.  I really would like to see this inspirational woman get the seat.  I'm hoping this latest scandal will push her over the top.  The district, though republican, is not evangelical.  So, chances of people being disgusted with the whole party and thier antics the past 2 years are pretty good.
I do like in the first article the idea of a new coalition that doesn't need or is dictated by the southern vote.  They've been controlling things for too long and are a major cause of the bush and gop mess we have now.
by vwcat 2006-10-10 05:55PM | 0 recs


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