Dems Will Lose House—Unless They Don’t

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Today’s top headline at Politico: “Democrats privately fear House prospects worsening.” An excerpt:

Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day.

In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.

They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover — or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe — such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 — are in real trouble.

In two close races, endangered Democrats are even running ads touting how they oppose their leadership.

Sounds damn grim for the Ds. But–wait!–here’s the headline from the National Journal‘s “Hotline”: “Why Democrats Will Keep the House.” An excerpt:

House Republicans are measuring the drapes in preparation for big gains in the lower chamber, convinced that Minority Leader John Boehner is going to become the next Speaker of the House. On a macro level, that wouldn’t be a bad guess — Democrats are saddled with bad polls and unpopular leaders, and the national mood wants a change from the status quo.

But the Democratic apocalypse isn’t guaranteed just yet. In fact, senior Democratic strategists say they’re not only likely to keep the House, but they believe the GOP won’t come close to gaining the 39 seats they need to take over.

That’s not to say Republicans have no chance of taking back the House. Indeed, for every argument Democrats make about their strengths, Republicans have a counterargument. But Democrats have a compelling case.

The piece goes on to detail “four reasons Democrats shouldn’t be counted out of the majority, and republicans shouldn’t start counting their chickens, quite yet.”

What does this show you? That sometimes it’s hard in Washington to concoct conventional wisdom.

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