There’s a reason White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs sounded unusually glum Sunday about Democratic election chances in the fall mid-terms this November — especially in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Real Clear Politics Web site shows Republicans and Democrats dead level at 200 seats each (safe seats plus leaners), with 35 seats considered toss-ups. Of the toss-ups, 34 seats currently are held by Democrats, which means practically all of the battleground races are potential GOP pickups. Put another way, if the parties split those races, you’d be looking at a 218-217 balance of power in the House, one way or the other — a radical shift from the current 256-178 (with one vacancy) advantage Democrats now hold. Actually, that view is fairly optimistic for Democrats. Stu Rothenberg’s generally respected forecast is more ominous. “Overall, substantial Republican gains are inevitable, with net Democratic losses now looking to be at least two dozen,” he writes. “At this point, GOP gains of 25-30 seats seem likely, though considerably larger gains in excess of 40 seats certainly seem possible.” Gibbs acknowledged the grim outlook, saying there is “no doubt” enough seats are in play to cost Democrats control of the House and an end to Nancy Pelosi’s speakership. Something to watch: the number of Democrats in toss-up races that ask President Obama to campaign in their districts.
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