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Handicapping the House

April 19th, 2010 - 11:15 am

We’ve got some new numbers from Real Clear Politics. When we did this the first time a couple weeks ago, I told you to look for blue seats (Democrats) shifting red (Republicans). Well, it’s happening already. And in a big way.

On April 7, Delaware’s at-large seat (held by the Republicans now) was considered a Likely Dem pickup, but as of yesterday it’s slid over to the Leans Dem column. But — get this — 16 other Likely Dem seats, currently held by Democrats, have done the exact same thing. Virtually overnight, CA-18, CO-7, CT-5, FL-2, IL-8, IN-2, MI-9, NC-11, NC-8, NJ-3, OR-5, TN-4, TX-23, WI-3, WI-7, and WV-3 all became a little tougher terrain for the Donkeys to climb.

Also shifting right, from Leans to Toss Up, were CA-11, IL-11, MO-4, OH-13, OH-16, PA-3, SC-5, SD-AL and WV-1.

FL-22 and HI-1 both shifted two spaces, from Likely D to Toss Up.

And, shockingly, NY-20 and PA-10 appeared out of nowhere from No Contest to merely leaning Dem.

That’s a huge movement in under 14 days. The Democrats now have 32 seats to lose, and only one to gain, from the middle of the polls. And their list of likely seat took a huge hit.

So how is the GOP doing on the right side of the page? Hey, this is a zero-sum game — each inch the Democrats lose is one the Republicans gain. But let’s get specific.

CA-44, FL-12, and OH-2 (all held by the GOP now) have moved off the board and into No Contest territory. CO-4, NV-3, OH-15, PA-11, TX-17, VA-5, tossups last time, have all shifted one spot right into Leans GOP.

We have six Democratic seats that bucked the trend. AR-1, FL-8 & PA-12 shifted left into Toss Up. And IL-14, MN1 & PA-17 went from Toss Up to Leans Dem. LA-2 still looks like a sure Democratic pickup, but Joseph Cao’s election two years ago was one of those accidents so freakish, it sometimes results in a mild-mannered nobody gaining superpowers.

Overall, six seats shifted one to the left, but not a single one into the Likely Democrat zone. The Democrats likewise made no gains in the No Contest area. And — brace yourself — 39 seats moved right. And of those 39, two of them shifted two places to the right, and two more shifted by three. More worrisome to the Democrats should be all the movement in the PA, OH, and FL. Republicans had been getting clobbered in those states in recent years. Resurging in Obama’s territories should certainly end all talk about the GOP being a “regional party.”

What should also worry the Democrats is that the number of No Contest Republican seats is climbing, while the Toss Up section is filling up — almost entirely with Democrats. Those two facts together give the GOP an edge in spending choices they haven’t seen in at least three election cycles.

Polling data this far out isn’t all that good, and the GOP still seems determined in a lot of cases to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — but we’ll talk about Charlie Crist and the NRSC another day.

UPDATE: Wow, these numbers move quickly. The screenshot (and figures) I used this morning were from yesterday’s RCP map. Since just then, MI-1 appeared out of nowhere to become a Toss-Up. NJ-12 and WI-8 both shot into the Leans Dem, also from No Contest.

And, very troubling to our progressive friends, IL-17, MA-6, ME-1, MS-4, NC-2, OK-2, TX-27, UT-2 and WA-9 are all now in play, even if only barely.

All in all, that’s another 12 seats the the Democrats need to defend. Big day for the GOP.

I think it’s time the EPA put Blue Dogs on the endangered species list.

ANOTHER UPDATE: To Rich, who asked in the comments, Intrade’s prediction market looks like this right now:

GOP control is currently trading at around 45, up from 15 when President Obama was sworn in last year. Trading is pretty light, but you can expect that to change.

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