I’ve been surfing around various political websites trying to get a feel for the race for a majority in the House of Representatives. Larry Sabato’s breakdown is interesting because as of July 8 he has 13 Democratic-held seats leaning Republican and 26 Democratic-held seats rated a toss-up. If the Republicans were to win all of these seats, they would pick up the 39 needed to control the House. They would not need to win any of the 22 Democratic-held seats that Sabato says “lean” Democratic. But they would, of course, have to hold the 8 Republican seats Sabato thinks are in play, including 3 that he rates “lean Democratic.” I suspect, at a minimum, that the Dems will capture Mike Castle’s seat in Delaware.
To the extent one trusts Sabato’s analysis, we might, in rough terms, consider the 26 Democratic-held toss-up seats to form the core battleground this year. These seats are:
FL-8 and 24
IN-8 and 9
MI-1 and 7
PA-7, 8 and 11
VA-2 and 5
A post by Jim Geraghty suggests that not all of these races actually are toss-ups. In PA-7, a new poll has Republican Mike Kelly leading Democratic incumbent Kathy Dahlkemper 48-37, with 51 percent saying Dahlkemper does not deserve re-election.
Polls from the past seven weeks show the Republican ahead in four other races on Sabato’s toss-up list:
PA-11, where Republican Lou Barletta leads Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski 56- 37;
SD-AL, where Republican Kristi Noem leads Democratic incumbent Stephanie Herseth Sandlin 49-44;
VA-2, where Republican Scott Rigell leads Democratic incumbent Glenn Nye 41-35;
VA-5, where Republican Robert Hurt leades Democratic incumbent Parriello by a whopping 58-35
Geraghty also refers to a few polls showing the Republican ahead in districts that Sabato rates “leans Democratic” or even “likely Democratic.” So the juxtaposition of Sabato’s breakdown and the polls Geraghty cites suggests, as many have said, that the House Dems are in serious trouble.
CORRECTION: It looks even worse for Pelosi. The Dahlkamper race is in PA-3. Sabato rates that race “leans Democratic.” It seems, though, to be leaning Republican.
PA-7, which Sabato calls a toss-up, is an open seat in which the Republican, former US Attorney Patrick Meehan, leads the Democrat in one poll by 47-26.
Other districts where Sabato gives the edge to the Dem, but where Geraghty has identified polls favoring the Republican, are NM-1, AZ-8 (essentially a dead-heat), and OH-13.