Smart Politics’ final set in its series of national and Upper Midwestern federal and state electoral projections is the balance of power in the U.S. House.
Smart Politics Projections: The U.S. House
Even before the financial crisis hit the U.S. two months ago, Democrats were poised to pick-up several seats from the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democratic party identification has been stronger nationwide than the Republicans all year, and, perhaps equally important, Republicans were forced to defend many more competitive districts after 2006 than the Democrats – despite the 31-seat Democratic gain.
In 2006, Republicans won 35 races decided by 10 points or less, compared to 29 for the Democrats. Republicans also won 43 contests decided by between 11 and 19 points, compared to just 22 for the Democrats. This puts more seats in play on its face for the Democrats, regardless of the political temperature.
Democrats also won far more blowout victories in 2006 – those districts that are ‘very safe’:
· By a 45 to 10 margin of districts that were uncontested by the opposing major party.
· By a 42 to 5 margin of races decided by between 50 and 99 points.
· And by a 83 to 53 margin of contests decided by between 30 and 49 points.
As a result, Democrats were going to win around 20 seats before the financial crisis came into play. Democrats will lose a few seats in 2008, unlike 2006, but probably only a small handful, and those losses will be easily negated by pick-ups in approximately 30 districts.
Smart Politics Projections: Democrats +27. Democrats retain control of the U.S. House