Chris Cillizza’s “The Fix” (WaPo) has an interesting ranking of the ” top ten House races.” Cillizza doesn’t spell out his criteria, except to say that #1 was chosen because it is “most likely to switch parties in 2008.”
According to Cillizza, They are, in order: CO-4; KS-2; CA-11; TX-22; GA-8; FL-16; AZ-1; OH-15; CA-4 and; VA-11, with half of the districts in Cilliza’s list currently held by each party.
It would be wrong to infer from the list that Republicans are more or less even with Dems in congressional races. The most current opinion poll shows Dems with a strong and growing lead in generic House races. The latest Rasmussen telephone survey (conducted 9/4) shows Dems with an 18 point lead in the generic congressional ballot, up from 10 points a month ago. A George Washington University Battleground Poll, conducted by the Tarrance Group (R) and Lake Research Partners (D) 7/15-18, found that likely voters preferred the Democratic candidate in their congressional district by a margin of 7 percent. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, conducted 6/22-24, showed a similar (8 point) lead. MyDD’s Jonathan Singer has calculated the average of seven recent generic congressional ballot polls, and concludes:
Although the margins have shifted from month to month, probably as a result of statistical noise, the overall appearance of the poll has been remarkably stable, with the Democrats varying within 2.5 points above or below 47.5 percent and the Republicans varying within 3 points above or below 35 percent.
Cilliza’s topic is really more along the lines of each Party’s “five best chances for pick-ups,” not the “most competitive” races. He provides some link-rich insights about each race, and some of the more than 170 readers submitting comments about particular races disagree with his facts and/or analysis. (Wading through such lengthy comments is a chore, but it does yield some perceptive insights and useful information for political strategy).
House race junkies will find another useful resource in Wikipedia’s House “Race Tracker 2008,” which links to state by state, then district run-downs identifying candidates and their announced opponents, with district maps and links to pertinent state and local websites.