Novak: Polling Shows Dems Poised to Pick Up House Seats

Before I even really get into this post, let me say that I trust Robert Novak about as far as I can throw him (and, as the secretary in Ferris Bueller's Day Off says -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- with my bad knee I'd better not throw anybody). That duly noted, in his weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times this week, Novak has the following report on the bullishness of House Democrats:

Private House Democratic polls of the 50 most competitive congressional districts project a gain of 9 to 11 seats in the 2008 elections that would be an unprecedented further surge by the party after its 2006 gain of 30 seats to win control of the House.

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 important to underscore that for all of the flak that Novak receives, he does have some good sources, both because he is a willing stenographer and he is well-known. However, Novak's sources are significantly better among Republicans than they are among Democrats. There's a reason Karl Rove spilled the beans about Valerie Plame's identity to Novak -- and it's not because he's an above-the-board, straight reporter. As such, there is real reason to take this report with a significant amount of incredulity.

Yet there is something in me that leads me to believe that there is at least a kernel of the truth in this report, too -- and I don't just think it's because I'd like it to be true. Whether it is the publicly available polling that shows the approval ratings of key Republican incumbents up for reelection in 2008 slipping or other publicly available polling that shows the Democrats holding an 18-point lead in the generic presidential ballot question, the early indicators are indeed pointing to the possibility that the Democrats will not only hold on to the House and the Senate in 2008 but in fact pick up seats. Of course the early indicators can be wrong -- and have often been wrong in the past. Nonetheless, even taken with a truckload of salt, these numbers cannot help but lead to an increased sense of desperation and despondence on the part of Republicans and more optimism on the part of Democrats.

Tags: House 2008, Robert Novak (all tags)



Novak is underestimating our possibilities
Dems made progress as election day approached, which may signal that we might pick up more than the 9 seats Novak is citing.
And who knows what new screw-ups Bush might incur in, or what new revelations might show up from our newly elected congress.
by kingsbridge77 2007-04-30 05:04PM | 0 recs
Pick Up House Seats

A key thing to note in 1994 part of the reason Republicans won was because of ethics rule changes, a bunch of senior Democrats retired.  I could go into more detail on this if anyone cares, I gotta run though.  

by JeremiahTheMessiah 2007-04-30 05:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Novak: Polling Shows Dems Poised to Pick Up Ho

I don't see how we don't pick up seats in the Senate, given how that's the locus of gridlock between Bush and the new Congressional majorities, and it's also the place where Repubs will be defending many more seats than we will this cycle.

There's so much voting material to work with of the R's holding tight with Bush, and there will be scads more before we are close to 11/08.

I say we go long at get started early and strong in Alabama, in Texas, and in Alaska, in addition to our well-known fronts headed in New Hampshire, Oregon, and Maine.

by Dean Barker 2007-04-30 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Novak: Polling Shows Dems Poised to ...

Don't forget New Mexico and Colorado

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-04-30 06:21PM | 0 recs
I'm worried about presidential coattails

in 2006 it was a vote on W's policies, but I hope 2008 doesn't end up like 2004 when polling showed us in good shape but ulitmately Kerry's unlikeabilty in Red states doomed us,I fear that could happen again this time as well.

by nevadadem 2007-04-30 05:32PM | 0 recs
Didn't hurt us with Dukakis in 1988

He did even worse than Kerry, yet Democrats gained everywhere downballot.

by Toddwell 2007-04-30 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Didn't hurt us with Dukakis in 1988

right.  People overestimate how much the top of the ticket matters.  It matters less and less these days.  GOP picked-up seats in 1992.  We picked up quite a few seats in 2000.  

It may matter a little bit, but not much.  Certainly not as much as the concern trolls here think.

by jgarcia 2007-04-30 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Didn't hurt us with Dukakis in 1988

Sort of... aside from 1980, or 1964, top of the ticket really didn't matter much to the overall congressional landscape... even as we lost so horribly in 1972 and 1984, we actually managed to gain seats as we lopsidedly lost.

Clinton of course managed to lose a net of 2 seats in 1996, even in his home state of Arkansas, while in 1992 the balance was even (although it turned into more until '94).

by KainIIIC 2007-04-30 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Didn't hurt us with Dukakis in 1988

And 2004 was pretty even in the house, Texas redistricting aside, and the losses in the Senate were largely due to the retirements of Southern Democrats in states that just aren't naturally that Democratic.

by Englishlefty 2007-05-01 08:27AM | 0 recs
These trends will mean little

if we pick an unlikeable candidate with sky high negatives for the presidential race.

by Populism2008 2007-04-30 05:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Novak: Polling Shows Dems Poised to Pick Up Ho

Is this an expectations game? It seems WAY too early.

by nvalvo 2007-04-30 11:54PM | 0 recs


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