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Will we gain the net 25 seats we need to to take back control?  Perhaps.  If Obama does indeed crush Romney (potentially by an even greater margin than he beat McCain by, if some of these recent polls are accurate), then we could be headed for a real wave election, in which case "Lean GOP" seats will start to fall to us in large numbers and a majority is pretty likely.

However, if this turns out like something more akin to the 1996 elections, in which Clinton easily trounced Dole yet the parties mostly just traded a handful of seats in Congress, then we could be headed for as little as a 10 seat gain.  But gaining at least that amount seems likely at the moment.

The state of the House elections, as I see it:

We came into this year with 193 seats, the same number won in the abysmal 2010 elections, following the trade of a couple New York seats in special elections.  Since then, redistricting scrambled the map, with new lines and new districts throwing off the easy math of the previous elections.  What is a gain, and what is just maintaining a seat?  Do Dem seats that have vanished from redistricting count as losses if they reappear elsewhere and send a new Dem to Congress?  And to say nothing of the number scrambling that happened in California and Arizona, as well as general renumbering as states readjusted the lines.

It gets confusing, so here's how I keep track.  First, the Dem seats "disappeared" from redistricting before a ballot has even been cast this November:

MA-01: John Olver retired and saved us a primary as MA's all-Dem delegation lost a seat
MI-13: Hansen Clarke, drawn in with Gary Peters under the GOP gerrymander
MO-03: Russ Carnahan, drawn in with Lacy Clay as the state lost a seat
NJ-09: Steve Rothman, drawn in with Bill Pascrell under a bad commission map
NY-22: Maurice Hinchey retired and his seat was vaporized as New York lost two
OH-10: Dennis Kucinich, beaten by Marcy Kaptur in a GOP gerrymander as Ohio lost two
PA-04: Jason Altmire, gerrymandered in with Mark Critz as the state lost a seat

So we're down 7 seats, but redistricting also gifted us with some new seats as well:

AZ-09: the new, Dem-leaning seat as Phoenix grew, Kyrsten Sinema should easily win
FL-09: growing Hispanic population forced the GOP to concede a new seat in Orlando, welcome back Alan Grayson
NV-04: Vegas gets a new seat, which should elect Steven Horsford
TX-33: the GOP had to give up a new Dallas seat, which will elect Marc Veasey
WA-10: a new seat, and safely Dem for Denny Heck

So that's a net -2 so far due to seats moving between states, but redistricting altered far more than just that.

But from here on, we can list seats the old way, as "changing hands" as opposed to vanishing or appearing.  And we need to net 27 now.  I'll start with the threatened Dem seats, in order of danger:

Dem seats at risk

1) NC-13: Brad Miller's seat was dismantled by a nasty gerrymander, so he retired and this one is gone
2) AR-04: Without Mike Ross to hold this, AR Dems effectively drew a 4-0 GOP map
3) NC-11: Heath Shuler quit as the GOP gerrymandered his seat into the reddest of NC, though Hayden Rogers fights on valiantly
4) OK-02: Dan Boren quit, and this seat will be a difficult test of Demosaur strength as Rob Wallace seeks to replace him
5) NC-08: Larry Kissell's seat was also destroyed, but he might be conservative enough to prevail
6) IN-02: Joe Donnelly bailed for the Senate, but we still have a chance in this now GOP-favored seat with Brendan Mullen
7) NY-27: Kathy Hochul's already red seat got 4 points worse, but she is a talented politician.
This point in the list is where I think we start holding our seats
8) CA-21: a sort-of successor to Dennis Cardoza's seat (who resigned after being drawn out), yet Dem John Hernandez has a huge cash disadvantage against strong GOP recruit David Valadao
9) IA-03: Leonard Boswell was drawn in with GOP Rep. Tom Latham, and it will be a tough fight on purple territory
10) OH-16: Betty Sutton was drawn in with Jim Renacci by the GOP, but she may very well beat him
11) GA-12: John Barrow has seen his seat chopped up twice in 6 years, but he can probably still beat his second-tier opponent
12) UT-04: Jim Matheson knows every 10 years brings another GOP attack on his district, but he still holds the ability to vastly outrun the top of the ticket
13) PA-12: Mark Critz beat Altmire, but he's not totally safe in the GOP gerrymander, yet looking strong
14) NC-07: Mike McIntyre was also targeted, but he is still favored to hang on

There's a handful more Dem seats that are on the cusp of being threatened, but I don't see the GOP as having a legitimate shot at winning the way things are going this year:

CA-03 (John Garamendi), CA-24 (Lois Capps), CT-05 (Elizabeth Esty, open by Chris Murphy), IL-12 (Bill Enyart, open by Jerry Costello) MA-06 (John Tierney), NY-21 (Bill Owens), RI-01 (David Cicilline), and WA-01 (Suzan DelBene, open by Jay Inslee).

So 7 more losses, but now on to the fun part.  For convenience, the GOP incumbent or retiring member's name is listed first, followed by the Dem challenger's name second in the description.  And as before, listed in likelihood of seat flipping:

GOP seats at risk

1) TX-34: Essentially Blake Farenthold's south Texas district, the GOP put his house in a new seat rather than see him beaten here by Filemon Vela
2) OH-03: The GOP gave up Steve Austria, finally conceding a seat in Columbus, which Joyce Beatty will win
3) IL-08: Joe Walsh should post the biggest loss of a 2012 incumbent to Tammy Duckworth in his new seat
4) FL-22: Allen West abandoned this un-gerrymandered seat, so Lois Frankel is heavily favored
5) AZ-01: Paul Gosar abandoned his seat for safer terrain, so Ann Kirkpatrick is looking strong to return to DC
6) MD-06: Roscoe Bartlett was gerrymandered into a Dem district, and will lose to John Delaney
7) CA-41: David Dreier retired after his seat was torn apart, and more or less reassembled here, which should send Mark Takano to Congress
8) FL-26: David Rivera never should have won, and his corruption should send Joe Garcia to Congress
9) IL-10: Bob Dold faces an even more Dem seat, and should fall to Brad Schneider
10) NY-24: Anne Marie Buerkle won't beat Dan Maffei again in this rematch
11) CA-26: Elton Gallegly retired, and Julia Brownley should add this to the blue column
12) IL-11: Judy Biggert is popular, but this seat was drawn for ex-Rep. Bill Foster
13) CA-07: Dan Lungren almost lost in 2010, and Ami Bera is back to finish him off in a bluer seat
14) CA-52: Brian Bilbray pulled a bluer seat, and should fall to Scott Peters
15) IL-17: Bobby Schilling also saw his district turned solid blue, and should lose to Cheri Bustos
16) MN-08: Chip Cravaack is the definition of a 2010 fluke, and is the underdog to Rick Nolan
17) NH-02: Charlie Bass faces a tough rematch with Anne Kuster, which should be hers to lose
18) NH-01: Frank Guinta was supposed to be safer than Bass, but polls show Carol Shea-Porter headed back to Congress
19) TX-23: Quico Canseco seems likely to be a 1-termer against Pete Gallego
20) IL-13: Tim Johnson retired after the primary, leaving David Gill to face a GOP staffer in a bluer seat
21) MI-01: Dan Benishek has trailed in unanswered polls to Gary McDowell in this rematch
22) CO-06: Mike Coffman wound up with a more Dem seat, but has not moderated himself, so Joe Miklosi has the advantage
23) NV-03: Joe Heck got a bit safer, but Nevada is changing so rapidly that John Oceguera might still be favored
24) WI-07: Sean Duffy was shored up, but still in a Dem district against Pat Kreitlow
25) OH-06: Bill Johnson faces a difficult rematch with Charlie Wilson
26) NY-18: Nan Hayworth was done no favors in redistricting, and faces tough opponent Sean Patrick Maloney
27) FL-18: Allen West jumped over here, but still faces strong opponent Patrick Murphy in an Obama seat.  Nothing would please me more than to see us get both of West's seats.
28) PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick could not be helped by the GOP gerrymander, and faces Kathy Boockvar in blue-trending Bucks County
This point in the list is where I think the GOP starts holding their seats
29) NY-19: Chris Gibson also saw his district shifted our way, and faces Julian Schreibman
30) CA-10: Jeff Denham pulled a much more Dem district in redistricting, and this race is quickly becoming competitive
31) CO-03: Scott Tipton faces a tough challenger in Sal Pace, in a competitive district
32) MI-11: Thad McCotter's career came to a comical end, and now Syed Taj has a real chance against wacky tea-partier Kerry Bentivolio
33) NJ-03: Jon Runyan was shored up a bit, but still faces a challenge from Shelley Adler
34) CA-36: Mary Bono has held this seat safely before, but outside spending shows a new competitiveness
35) IA-04: Steve King, right-wing leader, ended up in a swingier seat and faces well-funded Christie Vilsack
36) NY-11: Michael Grimm has had endless bad headlines, but still seems favored over Mark Murphy
37) WI-08: Reid Ribble seems strong, but still in a swingy seat against Jamie Wall
38) VA-02: Scott Rigell is still in a competitive seat, facing Paul Hirschbiel
39) MT-AL: Denny Rehberg is running for Senate, and the polls show Kim Gillan has a chance
40) TX-14: Ron Paul ends his strange career, and ex-Rep. Nick Lampson is running hard in this bluer seat
41) IN-08: Larry Bucshon faces Dave Crooks in a perennially competitive seat
42) FL-16: Vern Buchanan has never been too popular, and faces good get Keith Fitzgerald
43) ND-AL: Rick Berg is also running for Senate, and Pam Gulleson also has a chance
44) FL-02: Steve Southerland, in a bluer seat and with Al Lawson now on Red-to-Blue
45) FL-10: Daniel Webster faces good recruit Val Demmings, but it's a tough seat
46) MI-03: Justin Amash may face a real race with Steve Pestka

And here's the GOP seats on the cusp of being threatened, the ones to watch for in a wave

AR-01 (Rick Crawford), FL-13 (Bill Young), IN-09 (Todd Young), MN-02 (John Kline), MN-06 (Michele Bachmann), MO-04 (Vicky Hartzler), NE-02 (Lee Terry), NY-22 (Richard Hanna), NY-23 (Tom Reed), OH-05 (Bob Latta), OH-07 (Bob Gibbs), OH-10 (Mike Turner), PA-06 (Jim Gerlach), PA-07 (Pat Meehan), PA-18 (Tim Murphy), SD-AL (Kristi Noem), TN-04 (Scott DeJarlais), VA-05 (Robert Hurt), WA-03 (Jaime Herrera), WI-01 (Paul Ryan)

So that's 28 pickups for us, but with 7 predicted losses and a net -2 to seat shifting, just a 19 seat net gain, leaving us 6 heartbreaking seats shy of the majority.  It's possible we may not even get that many, but it seems more likely at the moment that Obama's increasing leads may get us even more, and sweep in those tossups right at the edge of where I put my dividing lines between wins and losses.  Those lines are where I think the elections would be decided today, but as always, much bigger gains are possible if a wave develops.

Poll

How many net seats will Dems gain?

7%18 votes
10%26 votes
18%44 votes
21%52 votes
14%35 votes
14%35 votes
3%8 votes
8%20 votes

| 238 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for the (6+ / 0-)

    work on this diary.  I am going to hope for a wave to sweep as much of the bad as possible out of the House.

    Thanks

    Hey! glad to see you. Hope you are doing well.

    by deedogg on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 04:58:15 PM PDT

  •  If we get a wave, it won't be like Clinton (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skaje, LordMike, MichaelNY, WisJohn

    See, 1996 had this dynamic:

    Democratic Prez
    Republican Congress
    Economy starting to do really well

    The "don't mess with success" voter is going to vote for more divided government.  Even if the policies that started the economic boom were arguably done back in the Dem Prez/Dem Congress years.

    I don't think anyone feels that the current divided government is working well for the country.  The Rs really want the Prez out and want the Senate back.  The Ds really wish for a mulligan on having control of congress and the presidency.

    I don't think this time we'll see much ballot splitting at the national level, except in the form of "protest votes" for  Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or whatever.

    •  I could see that dynamic explaining 1996 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomNonviolence

      and I really do hope that the different times we are in today will avoid a repeat of that.  Another thing I noticed that makes 1996 different: Clinton overperformed in rural, historically Dem areas that were slowly but surely trending away.  Even with him at the top of the ticket, Democrats struggled against the shifting politics in those districts.  But if Obama wins big this year, it will be by racking up unprecedented margins in suburban and diversifying areas, which are exactly the kind of Dem-trending areas we are targeting.

      1996 just overall seemed like a more incumbent-friendly year, with the good economy leading to a lot of ticket splitting.  But this time around, I think the Dem president's voters will be more partisan (so will the GOP's, as well).

  •  Excellent diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skaje, TheOrchid, MichaelNY

    Thanks for taking the time to sift through all the details and present it in clear and concise format. I wish it were looking better, but there's still time and this is looking more and more like a strong year for us.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 05:15:14 PM PDT

    •  Redistricting has really limited our targets (4+ / 0-)

      Under 2010 maps, I have no doubt we'd be headed for 3-4 seat gains in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.

      North Carolina is also ridiculous, as Republicans seem likely to toss out three Democrats they couldn't beat in 2010 of all years.  But I suppose Illinois makes up for that, as we're turfing out the 2010 winners as well.

      Truly fair, national non-partisan redistricting would yield us the majority this year, I have no doubt of that.

  •  Nice analysis. CA-52 is a likely Dem pickup... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skaje, RandomNonviolence, MichaelNY

    ...but is still a weird race - the two candidates, by recent polls, are virtually tied, with around 19% undecided.  I didn't think 19% undecided was possible these days, but there it is.  It's likely because people don't like Bilbray, but they're not sure who Peters is.  Yet.  The NRCC has apportioned $1.7 million for this race, while a pro-Dem PAC has apportioned around $1.2 million and the DCCC $1.2 million (all TV buys).  The TV ads should be flying soon.

    Source.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 05:42:21 PM PDT

  •  Been working on it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Have an Act Blue Site dedicated to supporting those Democrats I think have the best shot. May add some soon since I haven't updated recently. Anyone care to help get the total up to $2000?

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 06:18:49 PM PDT

  •  I know you put NJ-3 just over the GOP holds, but I (0+ / 0-)

    think even in a non-wave New Jersey runs over Runyon and sacks the Jersey GOP.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 06:58:19 PM PDT

    •  why do you think that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

      by jncca on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 08:38:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe I missed it in your write-up, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I think NC-09 is in play.  Sue Myrick (R) is retiring (must have realized the two-terms she promised to leave after have finally elapsed, 10 years later!)  

    Jennifer Roberts is a very solid candidate and has a shot here.  And Obama will do well in NC and possibly bring a few friends with him across the finish line.

    •  why do you think she has a shot? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      the district is very Republican, and doesn't have many conservaDems either.

      19, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
      politicohen.com
      Socially libertarian, moderate on foreign policy, immigration, and crime, liberal on everything else.
      UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city. -.5.38, -3.23

      by jncca on Wed Sep 26, 2012 at 08:39:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used to be hopeful like that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      and then I took two rounds of congressional elections to the knee.

      Seriously, though, yeah, I would hope it's competitive, but as far as I've read, the district is very red, and it's great that we do have a solid candidate, but short of the Republican candidate imploding I won't assume that we have a shot there.

      Would be nice to be pleasantly surprised on election day, though, so if you're in the area, go ahead and help them out.

  •  Our predictions are almost identical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skaje, MichaelNY

    You've got +19, I've got +20.  

    Looking through your lists, first with the Dem at risk list, we only differ on four seats, 2 on each side.  You've got Hernandez beating Valadao in CA-21 and Barrow hanging on in GA-12.  You have Hochul losing NY-27 and Walorski beating Mullen in IN-2, so those four are reversed for me.

    On the dem win list, I see you have IL-13 as a pickup along with NY-18...those I have as GOP retentions but its uncanny how close we are on those.  I have Dems picking up IA-4 and WI-8 instead.  

    Arguably all 8 of the races I just mentioned are going to be extremely close and I can easily see how different minds will have different opinions on them.  What we can say for sure is that the House landscape continues to point toward a closely contested outcome on November 6.  

  •  Didn't the conspiracy theorist (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    win the primary in MI-07? I think we can write that one off. Still, good diary.

    Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

    by sapelcovits on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 06:54:05 AM PDT

  •  i think garamendi and capps will be fine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skaje, MichaelNY

    CA is primed to swing fairly hard this election, between the new district lines and a GOP collapse and an obama landslide and the sheer weight of demographic shifts. i would not be surprised to see the san joaquin and inland socal races outperform what the numbers might suggest.

    •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, MichaelNY

      I see both winning by double digits, though I suppose if Romney comes back a bit (unlikely), they could be held to like 5 point margins (even more unlikely).  In another year, they would be competitive, but I list them just the same as seats to watch.

      I excluded from the list entirely a bunch of other seats that Republicans insist are competitive: AZ-02 (Ron Barber), CA-09 (Jerry McNerney), CO-07 (Ed Perlmutter), HI-01 (Colleen Hanabusa), IA-01 (Bruce Braley), IA-02 (Dave Loebsack), KY-06 (Ben Chandler), ME-02 (Mike Michaud), MN-01 (Tim Walz), NY-01 (Tim Bishop), NY-25 (Louise Slaughter), and WV-03 (Nick Rahall).  Put simply, those are candidates who survived the 2010 wave just fine, are looking stronger than ever this year, and should be headed to 15 point winning margins at least.

  •  Minnesota (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisJohn

    Walz-Safe Seat
    McCollum-safe seat
    Ellison-safe seat
    Cravaak-toast
    Bachmann-50/50 to flip to Graves
    Kline-dies in office....Hes a synonym for a penis but I don't see a way to beat him.
    Paulson-reelected.

    If Colin Peterson ever retires MN 7 will be red forever....

    The problem, in MN is the rural and suburban areas on average are red as can be with the Cities being blue. Prolife politics keeps the rural areas red on average.

    I don't know the answer other than redistricting that lowers the overall redness of the rural areas AND better DFL candidates, Mn could easily end up with a 3 D-5 R delegation unless we can defeat Bachmann or Paulson in the next 2 cycles. Add in the probable loss of a congressional seat in 2020 and the DFL needs to do some serious retooling in the rural areas to maintain congressional competitiveness.

    One area the DFl  needs to work on is reuniting with the independence party. They really are a separated couple that needs to overcome their quarrels and move back in with each other.

    I shouldn't write tonight because I am in a funk.

  •  Incorrect FL-22 Race (0+ / 0-)

    Allen West is running in FL-18 against Patrick Murphy, not in FL-22 against Lois Frankel. Frankel is running in the 22nd against Adam Hasner.

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