Shutdown Could Give Democrats the House Back

PPP survey reveals Democrats gaining edge in congressional cycle of 2014.

Democrat leaders in House of Representatives appeal to Republicans to not play politics with upcoming negotiations on the federal debt limit, during a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
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It looks as though the Democrats may have a chance to win back the the House of Representatives, thanks to the government shutdown.

A Public Policy Polling survey Wednesday showed that Democrats held a growing advantage over Republicans on the generic congressional ballot.

When asked whether they would vote for a Republican or a Democrat to represent them in Congress, 46 percent of Americans surveyed choose a Democrat to hold the seat.

[READ: Americans Just As Divided as Congress Over Shutdown]

One reason for the increase: Independents are increasingly getting behind Democratic candidates.

The survey shows 42 percent of independents prefer a Democratic candidate while 33 percent prefer a Republican. Independents will be a key constituency for Democrats who hope to flip a series of suburban districts in New York and Pennsylvania in the 2014 election.

The shutdown has become another major contributing factor for the rapid shift.

While Republicans continue to demand that Democrats negotiate about the Affordable Care Act in any legislation to keep the government funded, 51 percent believe that Republicans are taking an irresponsible course and blame them the shutdown. Thirty seven percent blame Democrats.

Democrats still have miles to go, however, before they could take back the House of Representatives. Since Democrats lost the House to Republicans in a landslide election in 2010, the political landscape has evolved. Political pundits argue that newly drawn congressional districts have contributed to a dwindling number of competitive congressional races, making it more difficult for Democrats to win back the House.

[READ: How Shutdown, Default Politics May Play in 2014]

Charlie Cook, a congressional expert, estimates that there are only nine true swing districts left in the country, a record low.

"House Republicans would pretty much need to self-destruct to lose control of the chamber," Cook wrote in a recent National Journal column. "Today, they seem to be flirting with just that possibility, but the election is still more than a year away, and it is far too early to say that the House majority is at risk."


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