A Dem House Majority in 2012? Don’t Bet on It

This post was co-written by Glen Bolger and Jim Hobart

Our friends at Democracy Corps recently released some initial findings of a survey they did in fifty Republican held battleground districts. Their initial memo, which can be found here begins:

A new survey by Democracy Corps in 50 of the most competitive battleground Congressional districts – nearly all of which gave a majority to Obama in the last presidential election – shows the new Republican majority very much in play in 2012.

We are previously on the record as guaranteeing that the Republicans will hold the House majority in 2012, and, despite their claims to the contrary, the Democracy Corps survey helps to illustrate why we are so confident.

The difficulties Democrats will have in re-taking the house are highlighted by the voting patterns of the 50 districts Democracy Corps chose as Republican battleground districts. According to Democracy Corps, 44 of the 50 were won by President Obama, and the districts were chosen “based on the 2008 presidential margin, the 2010 congressional margin, and race rating from Charlie Cook and others.”

While the number of Obama districts sounds daunting, some other data reveals how tough the vast majority of these districts will be for Democrats to win in 2012.

•    The average Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI) for these districts   Republican +1.1.
•    Only 16 of the 50 Districts have positive Dem PVI scores.
•    Of the 16 districts with positive Dem PVI score, eight are in either Ohio or Pennsylvania, states where Republicans control the redistricting process and will be able to draw lines favorable to vulnerable incumbents.
•    Just 12 of these districts were won by John Kerry in 2004.

For comparison purposes:

•    The average PVI for the 66 Republican pick ups in 2010 was Republican +5.
•    53 of the Republican pick ups had positive GOP PVI scores.
•    Bush won 57 of Republican pick up districts in 2004.

Republicans in 2010 had an abundance of traditionally Republican seats to target and could have taken back the house without winning a single seat with a positive Dem PVI or a seat won by John Kerry in 2004. Democrats in 2012 are not as fortunate. In order to win the 25 seats they need to take back the house, Democrats will most likely need to win no fewer than 13 districts won by Bush in 2004. The 2010 results underscore just how difficult of a proposition that is. Despite Republican’s historic gains in the House, just nine of the seats they won in 2010 were Kerry districts.

As a result of these and other factors, Republicans will keep the House majority in 2012. Guaranteed.

Public Opinion Strategies