Can the Democrats Take Control of the House?


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Wednesday, September 6, 2006 - 12:30am

Can the Democrats Take Control of the House?

All year long the "experts" have been saying that the Democrats would pick up some seats in the House, but not enough to regain the majority.  The Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to do that and it will not be easy.  Redistricting has made it much harder for seats to change hands.  For some reason, the courts allowed incumbent Congressman to change the map and solidify their individual districts.  Technically, there are elections for all 435 seats, but there are only about 25-50 competitive seats.


Pollster Charlie Cook identified 36 races that are up for grabs.  Of those, 26 of them are held by Republicans, with most in blue states.  More than 1/3 of these races are in New England, New York, or Pennsylvania.  What the Democrats are trying to do is make blue states bluer.  That also applies in the Senate too.  The Republicans that hold seats in those states are in trouble.  Massachusetts is already entirely blue, with every Congressman being a Democrat.  By November 7th, most of New England and New York may follow the same pattern.


Some strategists currently see the Democrats picking up anywhere from 13 to 19 seats.  That is right on the edge of taking the majority, but right now it could go either way.  The Democrats will pick up seats to be sure, but will it be enough to have a majority?  If it is, they will take control of the committees and replace the Speaker of the House.


I fully expect a White House surprise in the days before the mid-term elections.  They will come up with some national security issue that makes it look like they know what they're doing and it will push enough of the races in their corner for them to maintain control, even by a slim margin.  The Democrats, of course, will take this lying down as they always do.  They are still too afraid to stand up and take strong positions.


Of course, if Bush's approval rating sinks back into the low 30's from the 39% rating he has today, it may be too much to overcome, even if they pull some surprise on election eve.  With Bush in the low 30's, public sentiment would be so strong against him and his party that they would get swept out of office.  It is the last chance for voter.


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