Republican control of the Senate, once a very reasonable prospect, now seems unlikely. The race for the White House, to the extent one relies heavily on current polls, is too close to call. But at least it’s nearly certain that Republicans will retain control of the House.
The Washington Post’s “Fix” is basically in-line with other forecasters in projecting that “the 2012 race for the House is likely to be close to a draw [that is, the Republican majority will remain about where it is], and there is even a fair chance that Republicans will add to their biggest majority in six decades on Tuesday.” The recent trend, according to the Fix, has favored Republicans, and the Fix has moved the following red-district Democrats into more vulnerable ratings: Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.).
Matheson is, in fact, extremely vulnerable. Power Line Pick Six candidate Mia Love leads him by 12 points in a new Salt Lake Tribune poll.
Barber, by the way, was Rep. Giffords’ district director until he won a special election in June of this year to succeed her in the House. He remains the favorite to win again, but the race seems to have tightened, as former Air Force colonel Martha McSally has run a good campaign in a swing district.
The Fix concludes that, right now, Republicans have 228 seats either solidly in their favor or leaning toward them, while Democrats have 184. Another 23 seats are tossups. Thus, “if Republicans can win 14 of those 23 tossup races, they would keep their majority exactly as it is. If they win more than that, they would actually gain seats.” But even of they lose all of the tossup races, Republicans will still be in he majority come January.
If Obama manages to eek out reelection, and especially if he somehow wins quite comfortably, he and his Party will claim a “mandate.” But his only mandate will be to push for the things he proposed during the election, most notably taxing the “rich.”
Meanwhile, House Republicans will have an equally strong mandate to oppose, as vigorously as they can, all aspects of Obama’s agenda except for any stray proposal that might be consistent with the ideas Republicans campaigned on.