Republicans need to take over a net of 39 seats (GOP pickups minus GOP losses) to take over the House. Pollster Scott Rasmussen is predicting a 55 seat pickup, which is a stunning prediction given that Rasmussen is a national pollster whose livelihood hinges upon the accuracy of his prognostications.
Of course, most of us are expecting Republicans to take back the House this point (though perhaps not by the wide margin Rasmussen is talking about), so what may be more interesting is his prediction for the Senate where Republicans need to win a net of 8 seats to take it over.
Rasmussen is saying that Republicans will get/hold 47 seats for certain. That number is 47 Democrats, with 5 seats that could go either way.
Newport Beach, Calif.—Nationally-recognized pollster Scott Rasmussen last night predicted that Republicans would gain 55 seats in races for the U.S. House of Representatives November 2—much more than the 39 needed for a Republican majority in the House for the first time since 2006.
But the man whose Rasmussen Reports polling is watched carefully by politicians and frequently quoted by the punditocracy said that whether Republicans gain the ten seats they need to take control of the Senate is in question.
“Republicans should have 48 seats [after the elections next month], Democrats 47, and five seats could slide either way,” said Rasmussen in his banquet address at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference. He was referring to seats in five states in which the Senate race this year he considers too close to call: California, Illinois, Washington, West Virginia, and Nevada (or “that mudwrestling contest,” as Rasmussen described the race between Republican Sharron Angle and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid).
The question is: Do Republicans really want to take over the Senate at this point?
Whatever the outcome of the election, Barack Obama will still be President for two more years and even with majorities in both houses of Congress the GOP couldn’t override Obama’s veto pen. The most Republicans can hope for is a big enough majority to foment gridlock for two more years, and for that taking back the House is enough.
If they take back the Senate too, politically Republicans might be forced to shoulder some of the blame for Obama’s failed policies. Being able to blame the majority in Congress is a powerful rhetorical tool one that Obama, his fellow Democrats and their allies in the liberal-dominated media would put to good use.