Dems May Well Keep House; Does GOP Even Want It?

Most political pundits are spending plenty of time going back and forth about whether or not the Republicans will be able to win the 40 seats necessary to take back the US House of Representatives.

As we’ve written in the past, many GOP leaders differ in their beliefs about this fall, but everyone basically understands that the GOP will make large gains in the House and will lessen the Democrats’ advantage in the Senate by 5-7 seats.

But the Daily Caller raised an interesting point in an article yesterday, posing the question of whether or not Republicans actually want to gain back the full number needed for control of the lower chamber of Congress.

“There are some Republicans out there that I respect, that are very, very bright, that root against us getting the majority,” McCarthy said at a recent lunch with reporters. “They believe it’s a two-cycle election. They believe they may get the White House. They think if we got the majority somehow it protects Obama.”

“My belief is, you grab it when it’s there,” he said.

…Some worry a Republican takeover of the House would make it easier for Obama to win reelection. A GOP majority would give the president a scapegoat to blame whenever things went south. The Republicans would own the economy along with the president, who has shown himself adept at shifting as much blame as possible onto the Bush administration and would no doubt do the same to the House GOP.

…“What will Republicans and what will Republican presidential candidates do in the fall of 2011, with appropriations bills one or two months before Iowa caucuses?” [Ari] Fleischer said. “House Republicans will have to compromise with Senate Democrats or shut down the government.”

Political prognosticator Charlie Cook says his gut tells him “Democrats will end up losing a few more than 40,” but the magnitude of the loss might largely be affected on how important national issues become in each of these relatively small Congressional races.  This is an interesting point, because Cook notes that those who use the hyper-local, more isolated models predict GOP gains more on the measure of 25-30, whereas those who take a more macro, “national trends matter” approach tend to see a Republican takeover as more likely.

We tend to think this will be a year where it will be awfully hard to keep the national issues out of these congressional races, but that still remains to be seen.

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