Voter displeasure with the war and economy, coupled with Sen. Barack Obama's popularity, has the House GOP running for cover. Even though polls have shown that Americans don't like congressional Democrats any more, a new internal GOP tally of House races suggests a Democratic rout that could keep the Republicans in the minority for decades. A document provided to Washington Whispers from a House GOP official shows that they could lose a net 34 seats. That means the Democrats would have a 270-165 advantage in the 111th Congress. In the Senate, Republicans expect to lose also but to keep up to 44 seats, ensuring their ability to stage a filibuster.
The document provided to Whispers is no gag: It comes from one of the key House GOP vote counters. The source called it a "death list." The tally shows several different ratings of 66 House Republicans in difficult races or open seats held by retiring Republicans. "Rating 1" finds 10 Republicans "likely gone." Those districts are New York 13, Alaska, Arizona 1, Virginia 11, New York 25, Illinois 11, Florida 24, Michigan 7, Nevada 3, and North Carolina 8. Under "Rating 2," nine Republican seats are listed as "leaning Democratic." Under "Rating 3," some 22 GOP seats are listed as "true toss-up." The fourth rating, "lean Republican," finds 15 seats in the category that comes with this warning: "If there's a wave, some could be in trouble." The last "likely Republican" rating finds another 11. Only three Democratic districts are seen as "hopeful" GOP pickups. They are Florida 16, Pennsylvania 11, and Texas 22. Another 10 Democratic seats are listed as "possible" pickups. The loss of 34 House GOP seats is among the most dire predictions in Republican circles. Most analysts have suggested a drop of at least 20 seats and at most 30 seats. A key Democratic official refused to provide his own list but said, "I'd rather be us than them."