emocrats are increasingly optimistic about their chances of keeping control of the Senate. Few analysts, however, have given them much of a chance to retake control of the House. Much-watched electoral prognosticator Sabato's Crystal Ball, for example, predicts a net Democratic pickup of a measly four House seats — far short of the 25 the Left needs to seize a majority. But House Democrats are bullish, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) baffling CNN's Candy Crowley last weekend by predicting that Democrats "have a very excellent chance to take back the House." And not every analysts thinks that's bonkers. Could the GOP really lose its House majority in November?
Yes. Democrats could win back the House: "Predicting the House outcome is challenging," says Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium. But a very accurate predictor in recent elections has been the generic congressional preference poll. In 2010, for example, the polls showed the GOP with a +7 advantage, and they and beat Democrats in the nationwide House vote by 6.6 percent, seizing a whopping 63 seats. These days, the pendulum is swinging the other way, and Democrats now have a +4 advantage. If that holds, "the probability of a Democratic takeover is 74 percent, with a median 16-seat majority."
"Republicans at risk of losing the House?"
No. Republicans will keep the House: "Most projections show House Republicans on track to keep their majority in the next Congress," says Shira Toeplitz at Roll Call. Congress usually doesn't have big swings in presidential election years. Plus, with Romney floundering, GOP super PAC money will flow to House races instead of the presidential contest. And most importantly, "Republicans controlled the redistricting process in most key states last year, solidifying large gains they made in 2010." There just aren't that many seats in play.
"Mitt Romney's incredible shrinking coattails"
This could go either way: Who should we believe, asks Dylan Matthews at The Washington Post. Wang, a Princeton neuroscientist who "works on election modeling as a hobby," puts Democrats' chance of a takeover at 74 percent, but political scientist John Sides and his team at the blog The Monkey Cage, who eschew House polls for "a model that uses GDP, the president’s party and approval rating, incumbency, and district-level presidential vote," give the GOP a three-fourths chance of keeping power. The bottom line: Nobody knows for sure.
"Do Democrats have a 74 percent chance of retaking the House?"
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