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Overcoming the deficit

In a series of posts written in July and August, I looked at polling in certain congressional districts that Larry Sabato had rated as “toss-up” or “leans Democratic.” I found that the Republican candidate often had a decent lead in the “toss-up” districts and often was even or ahead in the allegedly Democratic-leaning ones.
Now, Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies has applied something like this approach on a larger scale, i.e., to the 66 Democrat-held districts that Charlie Cook rates as toss-ups or leans Democratic. He found that, in these districts, Republicans lead Democrats on the “generic ballot” by a margin of 49-31. Similarly, in these districts, 40 percent of voters approve of President Obama’s performance, while 57 percent disapprove.
These results suggest that Cook, like Sabato, is misclassifying races. More importantly they suggest that the Republicans are likely to find among these 66 districts, more than enough races in which to overcome the 39-seat deficit they now face in the House, plus the few seats that are likely to shift from Republican to Democrat in November.
Via Peter Wehner.
UPDATE: A reader points out that Charlie Cook will never rate an incumbent worse than a tossup. So some or all of what I’ve characterized as “misclassification” probably stems from the operation of this rule.
In fact, I’m told (I’m not a subscriber) that Cook currently predicts that Republicans will gain at least 40 seats, which is more than what his current ratings imply.

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