'One (hundred) seat at a time...'

House Minority Leader John Boehner made a comment late last week that raised an eyebrow or two:

When pressed for a number, Boehner said he believed the GOP could win as many as 100 seats in this fall’s elections.

“At least 100 seats,” Boehner said when asked how wide the playing field for districts is. “I do,” the top House Republican answered when asked if he thinks there are 100 seats in the U.S. “that could change hands.”

Much as I hate to contradict Rep. Boehner, we must fight inaccuracy in all its forms. There are not currently one hundred Democratic-held seats that could change hands, and he should have known better than to claim that in this media atmosphere.

There are currently only ninety-nine.The chart below compares data from two Cook Political Reports: the former is the first one Charlie Cook did after Election Day 2008, and the latter is the latest one, as of 8 AM Monday morning, 05/03/2010. Cook divides up seats by the below rankings, plus two more (“Safe Democratic” and “Safe Republican”). Essentially, if a seat shows up on the list, the seat ‘could change hands’ under the right circumstances.

11/13/2008 4/29/2010 Difference
Cook Rank Dem Rep Dem Rep Dem Rep
Likely D 28 0 35 0 7 0
Lean D 18 0 31 1 13 1
Dem TU 2 0 26 0 24 0
Rep TU 0 5 0 2 0 -3
Lean R 0 5 5 2 5 -3
Likely R 0 24 2 12 2 -12
Total 48 34 99 17 51 -17
Total, Comp 20 10 62 5 42 -5

So, two things from this chart:

  1. Boehner was being almost perfectly accurate. 99% accurate, at least, and according to at least one respected national political prognosticator. Between a third and half of the Democratic caucus have non-safe seats (as opposed to less to one-tenth of the GOP caucus); and almost 40% of Democratic-held seats are seriously vulnerable (the Republican equivalent is 3%). And this is six months in.
  2. The situation has steadily decayed for the Democratic Party. Not much to say about that, except that there’s been no sign that the erosion has been reversed, stopped, or even slowed down.

So that’s why Boehner said that. Allahpundit’s a little worried that only getting, say, 55 when we appear to be talking about 100 will make our victory look smaller than it is; to which I say, we’ll just have to live with that, and I suspect that we’ll bear up well under the strain. After all, a 55 seat shift will mean that the House Democratic leadership roster will look like their caucus had a bout with the plague…

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.