This has been the question on the mind of all political watchers for the last year. Coming off of failed policies by President Obama, and feeding off of his exceedingly low popularity, will the GOP be able to take back the House of Representatives and the Senate from Democrats? The answer: probably.
To someone who has not been following politics, the prospects of a Republican take-over of both houses of Congress seems daunting at best. As it stands, in the House, Democrats hold 255 seats to Republicans' 178. In the Senate, Democrats hold 57 seats, Republicans hold 41, and Independents hold 2.
Yet in today's atmosphere, every reputable poll, from Rasmussen to Real Clear Politics, predicts historical gains in the House for Republicans. The only real question concerning the House is how many seats will Democrats lose and how many seats will Republicans gain. Real Clear Politics predicts a minimum of 47 seats gained by Republicans, with 32 more being "toss-ups." In other words, even if Republicans lose every single toss-up, they will still hold the majority in the House.
The bigger question today, and for the next six, is whether Republicans can take back the Senate. RCP has Republicans gaining a minimum of four seats. However, this would not give the GOP a majority, for they would need to win 10 seats for that to happen. Lucky for Republicans, RCP has exactly six seats designated as "toss-ups" for them to win.
If polls are any indication to how a race will turn out, Republicans hold leads in four of the toss-up Senate races. Those races are Angle vs. Reid in Nevada, Buck vs. Bennet in Colorado, Kirk vs. Giannoulias in Illinois, and Toomey vs. Sestak in Pennsylvania. Democrats lead in two toss-up states. Those are Rossi vs. Murray in Washington and Raese vs. Manchin in West Virginia.
But the polls used in these races must be understood to have a firmer grasp of the situation. In the two latest polls in Nevada, Republican Sharron Angle has lead Democrat Harry Reid by as much as four, giving her a very solid chance to win. Republican Ken Buck has lead Democrat Michael Bennet since mid-August, and RCP still gives him the edge today. In Illinois, Republican Mark Kirk is leading Democrat Alexi Giannoulias in every poll by multiple points in the last two weeks, including the liberal polling organization PPP. In Pennsylvania, Republican Pat Toomey is leading Democrat Joe Sestak by at least four points in three of the last four major polls.
According to Real Clear Politics, in Washington, Democrat Patty Murray is leading Republican Dino Rossi by just over 2%, which is still in the margin of error. However, RCP does not cite a poll, referenced by the Washington Post, that states Rossi is leading Murray by 5% amongst likely voters. If this poll holds true, Rossi is much more likely to win than Rossi. In West Virginia, RCP shows Democrat Joe Manchin up by almost 5 points over Republican John Raese. Of the four polls they used, however, two have a (D) next to their names, which mean they are pro-Democrat. Taking these polls out, Manchin's lead falls to 1.5%, well in the margin of error. In fact, CNN (if you can believe it) has the two candidates tied. RCP also ignores a Fox Poll which has Raese up by two points.
The point of all of this is that the Senate races are tight. If polls are to be listened to, Republicans should have at least 49 seats, with an excellent chance of taking two more. However, there is more at play than polls. There is already major voting irregularities in Nevada that have favored Reid. Not only that, but the Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to voter intimidation in the past, so it would not be unthinkable for something like that to happen on election day.
But enough talking, what do you all think? Will Republicans take back Congress:
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