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The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Hill Unveils One Last Brutal Round of House Polls



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Wow. The Senate races may still look tough for the GOP, but this year’s wave is hitting the House races, hard.

The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party.

The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House).

Of the 42 districts polled for The Hill, all but two of which are currently Democratic, 31 had Republicans in the lead. Democrats were up in just seven, and four were tied. In addition, there are some 15 Democratic districts that are so far into the GOP win column that they weren’t polled. That would suggest at least 46 GOP pickups, plus whatever the party gets out of another 40 or 50 seats that some experts believe are in play.

“We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.”

Republican voters are also more likely to have made up their minds, sccording to the data.

The Hill’s data confirm other public polling and expert predictions, some of which put the historic wave even higher than the 52 seats Democrats lost in 1994 and the 71 they lost in 1938.

Let’s read that line again: “The Hill’s data confirm other public polling and expert predictions, some of which put the historic wave even higher than the 52 seats Democrats lost in 1994 and the 71 they lost in 1938.”

Getting into the specific races:

Longtime Reps. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Chet Edwards (D-Texas) and John Spratt (D-S.C.) are all down by double digits, and each is polling at 40 percent or below. The three have held their congressional seats for 14, 20 and 28 years, respectively.

Reps. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and John Salazar (D-Colo.) also trail their Republican challengers.

Hey, remember when the DCCC tried to argue that the NRCC pulling its ads from Chet Edwards’s district was a sign of momentum? Yeah, that was awesome.

Here’s the “good news” for Democrats:

Despite the environment, several longtime Democrats show signs of strength. In both the at-large congressional districts in North and South Dakota, Blue Dog Democrats hold slight leads over their Republican challengers. Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) leads by a single point, while Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.) leads by three. In Indiana, Rep. Baron Hill (D) is up two points on his GOP challenger.

The lone Democrat from this group who can truly breathe easy is Rep. Leonard Boswell (Iowa), who leads his Republican challenger, Brad Zaun, by 12 points, 49 percent to 37. Boswell leads by 17 points with independents and is pulling 10 percent of Republicans, according to The Hill’s poll.

Herseth Sandlin and Pomeroy are each at 45 percent, and Hill is at 46 percent. They may lead in these polls, but I wouldn’t have their Washington office staffs buy too many green bananas.

I hope Jay Cost is wearing oversized purple pants for his impending transformation into a big green monster.


Tags: 2010


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