Depending on who you believe there are anywhere from 57 to 84 Democratic Congressional seats in play for the upcoming midterm elections, IBD averaged the numbers from the Cook Political Report, the Rothenberg Political Report, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Real Clear Politics and found that 63 Democrat-held House seats are now: toss-ups, likely GOP pickups or lean Democrat. But like any prognosis even more important than the actual number is the trend,when IBD looked at that average about a month ago, it was 48.
Some people project the number of democratic seats in play to be even larger. National Review’s Jim Geraghty has a list of 99 races in play and like anything Jim makes a serious projection and executes it in a not so serious way:
Here are my 99 races, grouped into five levels of difficulty. I’ve used three different measurements – the Department of Homeland Security’s old color-code alert system, a comparable degree of difficulty to beating NFL teams, and a quick assessment.
RCP’s Sean Trende said last month that a replay of the 1994 Democratic loses are the most likely scenario, but it could be much, much worse:
That said, I think those who suggest that the House is barely in play, or that we are a long way from a 1994-style scenario are missing the mark [in 1994 the GOP gained 54 seats]. A 1994-style scenario is probably the most likely outcome at this point. Moreover, it is well within the realm of possibility – not merely a far-fetched scenario – that Democratic losses could climb into the 80 or 90-seat range. The Democrats are sailing into a perfect storm of factors influencing a midterm election, and if the situation declines for them in the ensuing months, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Democratic losses eclipse 100 seats.
Anything greater than a 41 seat pick-up will give the GOP control of the house.
Whether the Democrats retain the Senate or not, it is very likely that Harry Reid will not be the Majority Leader as his re-election chances are in great doubt. What is interesting is the Democrats are already whispering about the future of Nancy Pelosi, which is an indication that the Democrats are assuming they will lose the house.
David Hogberg at IBD speculated:
Over at Salon (not exactly a pro-GOP website), Mike Madden considers the scenario, but doesn’t see any obvious replacements:
It’s hard to imagine a party suffering such a cataclysm at the ballot boxes wouldn’t want to shake up its leadership. (And it’s not clear that Pelosi would want to return to being House minority leader after four years wielding the gavel.) But there aren’t really any strong candidates to take her place — because Pelosi has, over the years, outmaneuvered all her rivals.
Regardless, speculating about “Minority Leader Pelosi” this early can’t be a good omen for the Democrats.