Larry Sabato, described here as “typically cautious,” is, I think, a Democrat, but his “shock projection” for November is that the Republicans will capture the House and may well take the Senate, too:
Typically cautious Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, is rocking the political world with a new “Crystal Ball” prediction: The GOP will win the House, making Ohio’s John Boehner speaker, might get a 50-50 split in the Senate, and will pick up some eight new governors.
“2010 was always going to be a Republican year, in the midterm tradition,” Sabato said in his latest prediction, issued Thursday. “But conditions have deteriorated badly for Democrats over the summer. The economy appears rotten, with little chance of a substantial comeback by November 2nd. Unemployment is very high, income growth sluggish, and public confidence quite low. The Democrats’ self-proclaimed ‘Recovery Summer’ has become a term of derision, and to most voters–fair or not–it seems that President Obama has over-promised and under-delivered.”
Sabato on House elections: “Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. … If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.”
Sabato on the Senate: “In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react).
This, too, is an interesting point that I had forgotten: the House has changed hands six times since World War II, and every time the Senate has switched, too, whether that result was expected or not. That’s hardly a rule of nature, but it is an interesting precedent as we look forward to November 2.
PAUL adds: I’ve been using Sabato’s analysis of the House from July to keep tabs of the battle for the House. I picked Sabato’s analysis not because he’s necessarily better than the other folks who do this stuff, but because in July he had 13 Democratic-held seats leaning Republican and 26 Democratic-held seats as toss-ups, for a total of 39 Democratic seats in very serious jeopardy. 39 is, of course, the number of seats the Republicans need to gain, net, to take control (note, though, that a few Republican seats are likely to fall to Democrats).
Since July, I’ve been pointing out that Republicans hold good-size leads in a number of Sabato’s toss-up districts and even in some districts Sabato said were leaning Dem.
Sabato’s new analysis reflects this reality to some extent, but perhaps not fully. He now has 17 Democratic-held seats leaning Republican and 25 of them rated as toss-ups.
From now on, I’ll be focusing on the 23 additional Democratic-held seats that Sabato claims lean Democratic. It is on this list, I suspect, that most of the true battleground seats can be found.
Sabato probably suspects the same thing. He has 65 Democratic-held seats in serious play, along with a few Republican-held seats, yet predicts that the Republicans will have a net pick-up of 47 seats.