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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shutdown Does Not Guarantee a Democratic House

Nate Cohn writes at The New Republic that the GOP is taking more blame for the shutdown than the Democrats.
But whether Democrats can translate public opposition into significant gains in the House is far less clear. Unfortunately, these polls didn’t ask the “generic ballot” question about whether voters would prefer Democrats or Republicans in control of the House. But there are plenty of reasons for caution. The combination of gerrymandering, strong Republican incumbents, and weak Democratic recruiting make it very difficult for the Democrats to take the House. And if the polling is clear on anything, it’s that President Clinton was better positioned than President Obama—yet Democrats didn’t come close to taking back the House in 1996. So although it’s clear that the public is more upset at Republicans than Democrats, it remains to be seen whether the GOP will suffer great costs.
Michael Barone adds:
Another statistic could be cited: Obama carried only 209 congressional districts, while Mitt Romney carried 226. While capturing all 17 Obama House Republican seats would give Democrats a 218-217 majority, as a practical matter (and because Republicans have a good shot at winning some current Democratic seats) Democrats are going to have to capture at least some Romney seats. If Obama's job approval continues to be under its November 2012 levels, as it is now, and if voters continue to vote straight tickets, as they have done increasingly in the past 20 years, that's going to be difficult.