Analysis: Not 'far-fetched' to say Dems could lose 80 or 90 house seats 

Over at Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende has a typically smart analysis that portends electoral doom for Democrats come November:

A 1994-style scenario is probably the most likely outcome at this point. Moreover, it is well within the realm of possibility - not merely a far-fetched scenario - that Democratic losses could climb into the 80 or 90-seat range. The Democrats are sailing into a perfect storm of factors influencing a midterm election, and if the situation declines for them in the ensuing months, I wouldn't be shocked to see Democratic losses eclipse 100 seats.

Specifically, Trende notes that the key indicator to watch is generic ballot polling:

Consider that Democrats typically lead in the generic ballot, even if they do not gain control of Congress. In 2004, for example, Democrats led Republicans in 63 out of 72 generic ballot tests taken that year. Yet Republicans picked up a handful of seats in 2004 and won the popular vote by three points.

This year, five different polling companies have put Republicans in the lead for the generic ballot in the last two weeks alone - one reason why Michael Barone calls this the worst polling environment for Democrats "during my 50 years of following politics closely." The RCP Average has Republicans leading Democrats by 2.8 points on the generic ballot test. That should equate roughly to a 225-seat Republican majority (Republicans won the national vote by 5 points in 1994), which would almost represent a 50-seat pickup.

On the flipside, Trende does warn that a V-shaped economic recovery combined with GOP overreach could limit Democratic losses to 20-25 seats. But again, the most likely outcome is big GOP gains. Trende make many more interesting observations at the link.

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Mark Hemingway

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