As the Senate Goes…

…so goes the House. That’s the argument that Jay Cost makes at Real Clear Politics, and it’s an interesting one. Cost notes that almost everyone agrees that the Democrats have essentially no chance of taking control of the Senate in 2006. On the other hand, a number of pundits have said that they think the Democrats will re-take the House. Cost points out that historically (i.e., since the direct election of Senators began in 1914), the House has changed hands only when the Senate has also switched. This might be a historical oddity, but Cost offers a reasonably persuasive explanation of why the Senate is more prone to changing hands than the House. So, if the unbroken historical trend holds, the fact that the Democrats have little or no shot at recapturing the Senate suggests that they likewise have little or no shot at the House.

What this reveals, perhaps, is the lack of substantive analysis underlying predictions of Democratic victory in the House:

[P]undits know less of the specifics of House contests; thus, the House seems more promising. They cannot name the seats the GOP would have to lose to lose the House. If they could, they would find themselves naming many members most think are secure. A switch of the House still seems plausible, in other words, only because details are lacking.

That’s consistent with my own observation. Lists of districts the Democrats have to win to take the House generally include Minnesota’s 6th, which I am pretty confident will remain in Republican hands.

Of course, it’s early yet, and events between now and November could change the landscape. But at this point, Cost’s logic seems compelling.


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