Will the GOP Take the House?

UPDATED 07/27/2010

I showed, in the preceding post, the results of Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters who were asked whether they will vote for the Republican or Democrat candidate for their district’s seat in the House of Representatives. As of now, the edge goes to GOP candidates by 46 percent to 36 percent — a lead of 10 percentage points — with 18 percent noncommittal.

Were the GOP to hold onto that 10-percentage-point edge, the outcome would be even better (for the GOP) than that of the “Republican Revolution” of 1994, when Republicans re-took the House (winning 53 percent of the seats) while besting the Democrats at the ballot box by 6 percentage points.

Here are the statistics, in graphical form, for House contests from 1978 through 2008:

Source: Derived from congressional election results available through the links on this Wikipedia page.*

A 10-percentage-point win (55 GOP vs. 45 Democrat) would give the GOP about 57 percent of House seats (248), as against 43 percent for Democrats (187). That’s not a veto-proof majority,** nor is there any hope for a veto-proof GOP majority in the Senate. But, as long as Republicans hold the House, they can prevent the implementation of Obamacare (and other foolishness) simply by refusing to appropriate the necessary funds to implement it (and other things).

Pray for gridlock in D.C.
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* The anomalous mid-term point at 46-46 represents the election of 2006, when (I suspect) a larger-than-usual fraction of GOP incumbents held onto their seats by slim margins. The anomalous general election point at 44-41 represents the election of 2008, when (I suspect, again) another larger-than-usual fraction of GOP incumbents held onto their seats by slim margins. In both elections, the tide was running against Republicans, so they did well to hold onto as many seats as they did.

** A similar analysis of the percentage change in seats vs. the percentage change in votes yields a GOP edge of 271-164, which is too much to hope for, and still not a veto-proof majority.

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