Handicapping the House
Lots of movement this week -- almost entirely to the right. So let's dig right in with the grand overview, then take a look at the individual races.
Once again, using Real Clear Politics' poll averaging, we see the Democrats with a lock on 132 seats, down seven from ten days ago. The GOP would grab 163 seats, and that's unchanged. If you include Likelies and Leaners, the Democrats score 185 (down five) and the Republicans get 211 (up four). The number of Toss Up races is virtually unchanged, but there was still tons of action.
Nineteen races were movers, and only one went from right to left. In WA08, GOPer Dave Reichert is challenged by Microsoft exec Suzan DelBene. This one shifted one spot from Likely to Leans GOP, but DelBene probably doesn't have enough time to catch up. In fact, nobody but Kos and SurveyUSA have bothered polling here, and they're both axe-grindy partisans, albeit from opposite sides of the spectrum. Reichert almost certainly holds this one for the Republicans.
Same thinking goes for a couple right-shifting seats. A poll from MI15 (that's Dem John Dingell, talked about previously) looked kind of shifty, so I checked in with Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight, and sure enough, that poll was a one-time fluke conducted by the GOP challenger, Rob Steele. Lots of smoke, little fire. Similar story in OH06, with Charlie Wilson up against the GOP's Bill Johnson. However -- there is an anti-D wave rising in Ohio, and Wilson could conceivably get swept away. Also, OH06 is solidly in Appalachia country, and Wilson voted against Cap and Trade. He's probably safe. But RCP has moved both of these races to Leans D from Likely D, so that's what I'm reporting. But if either of these races go Red, then we're looking at a 70+ seat Republican tsunami. Unlikely, but remotely possible.
Seven races don't require close examination, but do require a mention. AZ07, CT01, CT01, MN08, NJ06, NY04 and NY22 have all slipped from the Safe column and into the Likelies. Movement like this makes me think we're seeing a real tsunami approach. For any party to be losing Safe seats this close to the election is a big indicator -- by this point in the cycle, races should be moving away from the center, and firming up. But the Dems just can't catch a break this time around
Oh, and AZ07 is a race to watch, even though it's supposedly still Likely Dem. In one of the weirdest moves in my memory, Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva called on the other 49 states to boycott his own. Was that a move to drum up Latino support in AZ07? If so, was it necessary? And if necessary, then Genuine Rocket Scientist Ruth McClung has a real chance to paint this town red. Also, I got to hear McClung speak at the Tucson Tea Party rally last weekend, and she's an impressive candidate. [UPDATE: Stacy McCain has more with Ruth.]
Now let's get to the real action.