The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cook: Number of GOP House seats in play has doubled

Charlie Cook is always interesting to read, and an astute observer of political trends. He's also very cautious in his predictions, and has suggested a modest gain for Democrats in November of perhaps four or five seats.

His analysis made depressing sense. Redistricting by state GOP officials, the power of incumbency, and a public that didn't seem any happier with Democrats than their counterparts in power are all impediments to an electoral "wave." But Cook now writes that the Democrats chances have increased rather dramatically in the last few months:

By the first of this year, the number of vulnerable GOP seats was still 18 -- but half were in the more dangerous "toss-up" category.

Now the situation has worsened considerably for the GOP: 36 of its seats are in play, and 11 of them are toss-ups. Democrats need to win just 42 percent of the Republican seats in play to reach the magic number of 218. An additional 18 Republican seats are rated "likely Republican," meaning they are potentially competitive. The consensus among veteran Republican campaign consultants, particularly pollsters, is that if the election were held today, their party would lose the House.

This suggests that Howard Dean's break with the party gurus in pursuing a fifty-state strategy could pay big dividends.