Democrats Project House Gains in 2008
Private Democratic polls “project a gain of 9 to 11 seats in the 2008 elections,” writes Robert Novak in his Sunday column. This would be unprecedented, as “All previous major surges of House seats have been followed by losses in the next election. The 54-seat Republican gain in 1994 that produced GOP House control was followed by an eight-seat loss in 1996. However, the current Republican political slump, fueled by President Bush’s unpopularity, would reverse that pattern if the election were held today, according to the Democratic polls.”
It’s helpful to recall, however, that the election won’t be held today and President Bush will be on his way out on election day.
In the House, there will be some low hanging fruit for the Republicans: traditionally safe seats that were lost through personal scandals in the last cycle. In the Senate, the electoral math looks very, very good for the Democrats, as most of the open and competitive seats are held by Republicans.
While the Iraq War will almost surely still be a major component of the 2008 debate, the focus will be on the two presidential nominees. That will quite probably change the political landscape. If either party nominates a consensus builder who is able to break through the recent wave of polarization, he could have coattails that significantly reshape the House and Senate, sweeping his party in all the close races.