The PJ Tatler

GOP May Add to their Majority in the House

A few weeks ago, it looked as if the Republicans would maintain their majority, but reduced by a half dozen or so seats.

Now, WaPo’s political blog The Fix sees the GOP breaking even with the Democrats and perhaps even picking up a few seats:

The Fix now projects that the 2012 race for the House is likely to be close to a draw, and there is even a fair chance that Republicans will add to their biggest majority in six decades on Tuesday.

Below, The Fix is updating the ratings of 10 House races, with most of them moving in the GOP’s direction.

In recent weeks, as Mitt Romney has gained a few points in the presidential race, a similar but slight shift has been happening at the House level: The generic ballot has tightened.

While Democrats had built a modest advantage on the generic ballot (a measure of whether people prefer a generic Republican or a generic Democrat) when President Obama built some momentum in September, that advantage is basically gone now.

In part because of this, Democrats have seen their candidates in conservative-leaning districts suffer. Friday, we are moving several red-district Democrats into more vulnerable ratings, including Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.).

And because those seats have shifted, it is no longer a foregone conclusion that Democrats will gain seats this year.

In fact, right now, The Fix projects that Republicans have 228 seats either solidly in their favor or leaning toward them, while Democrats have 184. Another 23 seats are tossups.

If Republicans can win 14 of those 23 tossup races, they would keep their majority exactly as it is. If they win more than that, they would actually gain seats.

A lot of those vulnerable first term Republican incumbents who were swept into office in the 2010 tidal wave were expected to have trouble holding their seats. Some of them probably will go down, but most of them figured out that good constituent services — and frequent trips back home — go a long way toward convincing the district to vote for them again.

A Romney victory — even a narrow one — would help solidify the GOP majority in the House and who knows? Perhaps a final push these last few days will knock off a couple of Democratic incumbent Senators and give the GOP a victory in the upper chamber as well.