As Americans prepare to go to the polls on Nov. 2, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi may be the only person in the country who continues to deny the big, red wave of Republican victories that appears likely to crash to shore in Washington, D.C.
With all 435 seats up for grabs during the 2010 election, Republicans will need to win 39 House seats to take control of the chamber. As the election nears, however, the question is not, “Will Republicans gain seats in the House during this election?” but rather “How big will the wave be?”
Back in March of this year, Market Watch broke down predictions of Republican seat gains, which ranged from a 27-seat pickup to a 47-seat pickup.
In July, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told The Hill that the party expected to gain a few more than 40 seats in the House.
However, with history and voter enthusiasm on their side, Republicans stand to gain far more seats in the House and Senate than early predictions claimed.
Recent polls show the tide growing in Republicans’ favor. A New York Times poll showed groups that voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 — women, Roman Catholics, less-affluent Americans and independents — were turning to Republicans. According to a CBS News poll, 47 percent of independents — the most powerful group of swing voters in the country — planned to vote Republican in November.
According to The Hill’s 2010 Midterm Election poll, the GOP stands to “easily” pick up more than 50 seats. This pickup, The Hill states, could cause the Republican wave to be even higher than the 1994 wave during Bill Clinton’s presidency.
On Oct. 28, The Cook Political Report showed the Republicans as having eight seats listed as “Lean” or “Toss Up.” At the same time, the report showed the Democrats with 92 seats listed as “Lean” or “Toss Up.” Even seats long assumed to be safe — such as that of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services — are now considered vulnerable.
Also on Oct. 28, Larry Sabato’s The Crystal Ball, a website run by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, released its final predictions on Republican seat gains. Considered to be one of the most accurate predictors of political races throughout the U.S., the site shows a predicted Republican gain of 55 seats in the House. The site also predicts that Republicans will gain eight seats in the Senate and eight or nine governorships.
With predictions continuing to improve for the Republicans, gaining control of the House is almost considered to be a fact rather than a possibility. On Oct. 27, The Washington Times reported that Ireland’s largest bookie began paying off all bettors who wagered the GOP would capture the chamber.
“In our opinion this race is well and truly over with nothing short of a miracle stopping the Republicans taking down the House," Ken Robertson, communications manager for Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker, told the newspaper.
Channeling this confidence, Republicans have started to ready their 2011 agenda. On Sept. 23, the GOP released their Pledge to America. According to Reuters, the Republicans will, among other things, aim to repeal the administration’s overhaul of the health care system, end government control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, roll back federal spending to 2008 levels, extend all Bush-era tax cuts and cancel all unspent money from the $814 billion stimulus plan.
As the Associated Press points out in an Oct. 28 article, winning the House is just the first step for the Republicans. The challenges of governing will follow, with Republicans having to decide how much of the government-shrinking plan to implement, how fast cuts will be put into effect and how much compromise they will allow with the president’s agenda.
Although Republicans are hesitant to appear to be “measuring the drapes,” with polls, history and predictions on its side, the GOP appears likely to claim a large amount of power back from the Democrats. Whether it’s considered an elephant stampede or a red tsunami, signs point toward a major Republican victory on Nov. 2.
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