Historically, Democrats have needed about a five-point or better advantage to take the House.
Still, don’t get cocky.
Why the Democrats Just Lost the Senate. “While Nancy Pelosi is shopping for speaker’s gavels, Chuck Schumer should be preparing for another term as minority leader.”
Because the bulk of Republican incumbents up for reelection this year are in states that are nearly impregnable—think Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming—Democrats will almost certainly have to defeat Nevada’s Dean Heller and pick up the Arizona seat left open by Jeff Flake’s retirement.
Beyond that pair, everything else is a stretch. Rep. Marsha Blackburn appears capable of blowing a lay-up open seat in Tennessee for the Republicans, and there are signs that Sen. Ted Cruz could be ripe for a takedown from cash-flush Democrat Beto O’Rourke in Texas, but both of those races are mostly progressive wishcasting at this point.
In any case, picking up two seats is the easy part. The Democrats must also protect incumbents in 10 states that Trump won in 2016. Five of those senators (Indiana’s Joe Donnelly; Missouri’s Claire McCaskill; Montana’s Jon Tester; North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp; and Manchin) represent states where Hillary Clinton failed to muster even 40 percent of the vote.
The Democratic brand is no asset in many of these places. Equally important, the president known for his historically weak approval ratings at the national level remains popular locally in states like Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia.
Charlie Mahtesian repeats the conventional wisdom that “the House seems to be a lost cause for Republicans,” but that might not be the case.
Anyway, don’t get cocky.