In recent weeks, several respected commentators suggested the House could be in play for 2014. Their sources: Republicans worried about the consequences of a government shutdown. But there are few signs that an anti-Republican wave is developing, one that would threaten the party’s comfortable 17-seat majority.
Despite the GOP’s damaged brand, both parties fare evenly on the generic ballot. July’s NBC/WSJ poll found a 44-44 tie. Around the same time, Quinnipiac showed Dems with a 40-36 edge. Voters are gridlocked, viewing both parties unfavorably. And President Obama’s declining ratings and the rising unpopularity of Obamacare suggest Republicans have their own weapons to use against Dems, despite their myriad vulnerabilities.
Could a government shutdown change the political calculus? Sure. But the structural advantages the GOP created, post-2010 redistricting, insulate the party from the environment. There are only 17 Obama Republicans left. Sweep them all, hold their own, and Democrats barely taste the majority.
Wave or no wave, the upper chamber is the one looking in play on Election Night. Dems need an awfully big landslide to entertain taking back the House.
Via Josh Kraushaar of National Journal.