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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

More Shrinkage in GOP’s ‘Safe’ House Seats

In today’s WaPo, the Michael D. Shear and Dan Balz article “Growing Number of GOP Seats In Doubt: Vulnerability Seen In Unusual Places,” should gladden the spirits of Dem leaders looking toward November. The authors note:

Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of a political newsletter, now has 42 Republican districts, including Drake’s, on his list of competitive races. Last September, he had 26 competitive GOP districts…”That’s a pretty significant increase,” he said. “The national atmospherics are making long shots suddenly less long.”

As Balz and Shear explain,

Incumbents’ poll numbers have softened. Margins against their Democratic opponents have narrowed. Republican voters appear disenchanted. The Bush effect now amounts to a drag of five percentage points or more in many districts.
The changes don’t guarantee a Democratic takeover by any means, but they are creating an increasingly asymmetrical battlefield for the fall elections: The number of vulnerable Democratic districts has remained relatively constant while the number of potentially competitive Republican districts continues to climb.

And MyDD’s Jonathan Singer reports more good news for the DCCC:

As of Friday, Cook (.pdf) rates 75 seats as potentially competitive, of which the GOP must defend 55 (or 73 percent, up from 68 percent the previous week). Among the seats that could become competitive this year, Cook sees 46 as already competitive, with Republicans defending 36 (or 78 percent, up from 69 the previous week). Within the races that are today competitive Cook rates 12 as “toss-ups,” with the GOP defending 11 (or 92 percent, up from 82 percent the previous week).

Clearly, the Dems’ chances of winning a majority of the House are improving rapidly and better than expected. A lot can happen between now and November, but the trends are all blue.