Based on current survey research data, if the election was held today Republicans would gain 8 seats in the U.S. Senate (AR, CO, NV, DE, IN, PA, IL and ND). Democrats would still be in control but their majority would shift to a narrow 51 to 49 lead. Republicans are also heading towards impressive gains in the U.S. House of Representatives. This will be a welcome change for them after losing 54 seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
They now need to gain 40 seats to oust Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Democrat Charlie Cook said today, “Combining its own race-by-race calculations with the results of national polls, The Cook Political Report officially projects a Republican gain of 30 to 40 seats. I suspect that the GOP will do even better if the trend over the past seven months continues.”
Based on current survey data, the GOP would gain 11 seats in an election held today by defeating the following House Democrats: Frank Kratovil (MD), Harry Teague (NM), Steve Driehaus (OH), Glenn Nye (VA), Tom Perriello (VA), Betsy Markey (CO), Bobby Bright (AL), Travis Childers (MS), Brad Minnick (ID), Alan Grayson (FL) and Mary Jo Kilroy (OH).
The GOP would also gain seven open seats vacated by Democratic Reps. Bart Gordon (TN), Vic Snyder (AR), Dennis Moore (KS), Brad Ellsworth (IN), Charlie Melancon (LA), Eric Massa (NY) and John Murtha (PA). This 18 seat GOP gain would be offset by losing districts represented by Republicans Joseph Cao (LA) and Mike Castle (DE).
The major factor in the 2010 campaign is the large number of Democratic House seats that are considered tossups. The lawmakers at the top of this group include Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (FL), Bill Foster (IL), Mark Schauer (MI), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Michael Arcuri (NY), Dana Titus NV), Alan Mollohan (WV) and Baron Hill (IN).
Republicans also have an excellent chance of taking the six open seats currently represented by Democratic Reps. Bart Stupak (MI), Brian Baird (WA), Joe Sestak (PA), John Tanner (TN), Marion Barry (AR) and Paul Hodes (NH). If the GOP won all of these seats, which is far from certain, it would give them 30 of the 40 seats they need for control of the House. To remove Speaker Pelosi they would have to win 10 out of the 65 districts which are now leaning towards the Democrats.
Republicans should not be overconfident because the November election is still far away, and most of these Democrats have a significant fundraising edge. In only 10 of the battleground districts was the GOP challenger able to raise more money than the Democratic incumbent during the first quarter of 2010. It is rare for any challenger to raise more than an incumbent. An improving economy could also completely change the political landscape.
David Paul Kuhn, author of “The Neglected Voter: White Men and the Democratic Dilemma,” has an excellent analysis of the 2010 midterm election:
The Democrats’ 257-seat majority is reasonably safe if at least 48 percent of registered voters favor electing a Democrat in their district, based on the Gallup Poll’s forecasting model. Gallup measures Democrats at 44 percent today. A Democratic ballot at 45 percent, as Gallup’s model forecasts, means Republicans could easily win back the House. Not even 1994 (when the GOP captured the House after 40 years in exile) looked like 1994 at this point. In the spring of that year, Democrats were slightly ahead in the generic ballot. And as every political junkie knows, even a tied generic ballot favors Republicans.