Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Charlie Cook: Dem hopes of taking House control are slim to none

“Why Republicans Will Never Have an Electoral Incentive to Compromise”

Not everything is about the next election. But if you are a congressperson the next election is never too far away. And the current conventional wisdom is that the public blames the Repubs more than the Dems. There’s even a Quinnipiac generic ballot question (where a national sample is asked whether, if the House election were held today, they would vote for a Democrat or a Republican) and the generic Dem wins 43-34, the biggest margin so far this cycle.

But, as you know, that’s not how we elect the House. It’s 435 separate elections in districts that — as the district map are currently drawn, and will be drawn for the next four elections — seem to favor Republicans.

The real political nerds don’t put much stock in generic ballot questions. And the super-nerds devote unimaginable levels of time and effort to have an up-to-date view of all 435 races. And Charlie Cook, of the Cook Political Report and National Journal, is in that category. In his latest National Journal column, Cook makes the case that, as the headline on the column suggests, “Republicans will never have an electoral incentive to compromise.”

Another super-nerd, Larry Sabato, put it this way to, (speaking of House Republicans, generally):

Article continues after advertisement

“Not only are their seats safe, but their support of this shutdown and the attempt to defund Obamacare is their guarantee to reelection,” Sabato told “The vast majority are in heavily Republican districts, so general public opinion may be completely against them, but this is actually good for them.”

As Cook currently rates the 435 races, he says, in order for control of the House to change hands in 2014:

Democrats would have to win 100 percent of the 192 races The Cook Political Report now rates as Solid-, Likely-, and Lean-Democratic, plus all of the 10 races in the Toss-Up column, all of the 11 races in the Lean-Republican column, and five (29 percent) of the 17 rated as Likely-Republican. Needless to say, that is a very tall order.