Race by Race US House Analysis – A Primer
Now it’s time for our analysis series to move on to the US House. The House tends to be both harder and easier to call. Easier because not all races are contested, or contested competitively. Harder because those that are have very limited polling, so they require a look at past races, trends, the state involved, limited polling data, and just a plain gut feeling. Also, there are 435 House seats, and therefore, 435 House races to look at. Given that many seats, we’re going to break it up into eight parts, divided by region:
- Mid Atlantic
- Mid West
- North East
- Rust Belt
- South East
- West (all but California)
There is always an easy way to look at the races as to avoid a lot of effort, but it’s the ‘easy way’ and doubtfully accurate, although still fun. Currently the House has 255 Democrats and 178 Republicans and 2 vacancies that lean Republican. In 2008, the Democrat take overall nationwide was 53.2% to the Republicans 42.5%. When looking at the ‘Real Clear Politics’ poll averages, Republicans lead 45.8% to 41.0%. Proportionately making undecideds decideds translates to 52.8% for the GOP and 47.2% for the Democrats, or a swing of 16.2%. If every US House district would swing 16.2%, the Republicans would win an additional 95 seats over their current total and would hold a 275 to 160 edge. For historical perspective, the last time the GOP had a bigger advantage in the House was from 1921-1923, when they had 302 seats to the Democrats 131 (2 independents). That is 90 years ago. The last time the Democrats had that big of an advantage was 1979-1981 (just 30 years ago during those wonderful Carter years). Of course that calculation does not take into consideration seats that were uncontested in 2008 and are contested now or vice versa, scandals, deaths, and those pesky current issues. But it does underscore the potential dangers of this election to Democrats and the Obama agenda and the potential reward for the GOP.
But like most other pollsters and pundits, we are going to look at this the hard way, race by race with the warts included (in a brief sort of way). Stay tuned!