A poll lead in October does not guarantee a win by a GOP challenger. But it’s certainly a good sign.
Just looking at the polls released since September 30, there are currently 36 Democrat-held seats where the GOP challenger is polling ahead of the Democrat, in most cases an incumbent. This does not count the races where the GOP challenger trails by only a few or within the margin of error, or obviously races where no polls have been conducted.
Going back another week, we could throw in Rick Berg in North Dakota, who has led consistently but no polls since late September, Daniel Webster’s bid against Alan Grayson in Florida’s 8th district, and Tom Reed’s healthy lead in New York’s 29th district, Eric Massa’s old spot.
Republicans need 39 to take control of the chamber.
AL-2: Public Opinion Strategies puts Martha Roby ahead by 2.
AR-1: The Hill puts Rick Crawford ahead by 12.
AZ-1: The Hill puts Paul Gosar ahead by 7.
CA-11: Survey USA puts David Harmer ahead by 6.
CO-4: The Hill puts Cory Gardner ahead by 3.
CT-5: CT Capitol Report puts Sam Caligiuri ahead by 6.
FL-2: A National Research poll puts Steve Southerland ahead by 16.
IL-11: The Hill puts Adam Kinzinger ahead by 18; a poll released by Democrat Debbie Halvorson puts him up by only 5.
IL-14: A Tarrance Group poll puts Randy Hultgren ahead by 6.
KY-6: The Tarrance Group puts Andy Barr ahead by 1.
MD-1: The Hill puts Andy Harris ahead by 3.
MI-1: The Hill puts Dan Benishek ahead by 3.
MI-7: The Hill puts Tim Walburg in a tie.
MI-15: Rossman Group puts Rob Steele ahead by 4.
NH-1: University of New Hampshire puts Frank Guinta ahead by 10.
NH-2: The Hill puts Charlie Bass* ahead by 3.
NM-2: The Hill puts Steve Pearce ahead by 4.
NV-3: The Hill puts Joe Heck ahead by 3.
NY-19: Siena puts Nan Hayworth up by 3; Iona has her tied with incumbent Democrat John Hall.
NY-23: Public Opinion Strategies puts Matt Doheny ahead by 14.
NY-25: A McLaughlin & Associates poll puts Ann Marie Buerkle ahead by 1.
OH-1: A Survey USA poll puts Steve Chabot ahead by 12.
OH-15: The Hill puts Steve Stivers ahead by 9.
OH-16: The Hill puts Jim Renacci ahead by 3.
PA-3: Mercyhurst College puts Mike Kelly ahead by 7; The Hill puts him ahead by 13.
PA -7: Franklin & Marshall puts Meehan ahead by 3; The Hill puts him ahead by 1; Monmouth puts him ahead by 4.
PA-8: Monmouth University puts Mike Fitzpatrick ahead by 5.
PA-10: The Times Leader puts Tom Marino ahead by 6.
PA-11: The Times Leader puts Lou Barletta ahead by 2; Franklin & Marshall puts Barletta ahead by 7.
SD-AL: Rasmussen puts Kristi Noem ahead by 3.
TN-8: The Hill puts Stephen Fincher ahead by 10.
TX-17: An OnMessage, Inc. poll for Bill Flores shows him ahead by 19; a poll for Democrat Chet Edwards shows Flores ahead by 4.
TX-27: An OnMessage Inc. poll for Blake Farenthold puts him up by 8.
VA-2: The Hill puts Scott Rigell ahead by 6.
VA-5: Survey USA puts Robert Hurt up by 11; The Hill puts him ahead by 1.
WA-3: Survey USA puts Jaime Herrera ahead by 3; The Hill puts her ahead by 2.
WI-7: The Hill puts Sean Duffy up by 9.
The only GOP incumbents whom I have seen trailing are Joseph Cao of Louisiana and Hawaii’s Charles Djou, trailing by 1 in the Daily Kos/PPP poll.
UPDATE: I originally included Hawaii’s 1st district, where The Hill puts Djou ahead by 4, but he’s an incumbent Republican, not a challenger.
* For a moment, I had Charlie Batch listed; I guess that would make Charlie Bass the backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.