Monday, September 21, 2009

Will Republicans Take Over Congress?

The President and the Democrat’s declining approval ratings make many Republicans think that they can make a strong comeback in next year’s election. Polls in the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey—where the Republicans are poised to take Democrat seats seem to bear them out.

Comparisons have been made to the 1994 Republican Revolution when Newt Gingrich led Republicans to control of the House for the first time in decades. And there is indeed a comparison to be made. A Democratic President had seen his efforts to bring about universal healthcare blow up in his face. Democrats were seen as overreaching.

But the similarities could end there. Obama and Democrats have indeed suffered setbacks as they have tried to sell universal healthcare. But the proposals aren’t dead—much as some conservatives might like them to be. There will be a push to achieve reforms again this fall. If the Democrats succeed in pushing through a popular reform package, they will reap political benefits.

Still, there is no denying that Republicans have a good chance to pick up some seats. The economy is slowly improving, but it’s still doing poorly. Voters tend to punish incumbents when the economy isn’t doing well. Just ask Jimmy Carter and George Bush. So if people are still worried about the economy, Republicans should win some seats.

Also, remember that there are plenty of Democrats from conservative districts. In fact, there are 49 House districts which voted for McCain at the Presidential level, but a Democrat to represent them in Congress. It would be hard to hold all of these seats under normal circumstances. In a tough economy it will be harder.

So I think no matter what, Republicans will win some seats next year. Whether they control congress on November 5, 2010 remains up in the air.

What do you think?


  1. I think it's not even a question worth asking unless you add "in 2012" or "in 2014" to the end of it. Charlie Cook says there’s a 50% chance the GOP scores more than 20 seats and a 50% chance they score less, a number far less than the 39 they need (and *11* in the Senate, even more out of reach). Sabato’s seat-by-seat analysis shows a similar pattern. Pick up seats? Absolutely, especially in the House. Take over even one chamber, much less two? Silly question this cycle.


  3. Thanks for the article. I think Sabato's case is compelling.