A slew of polls from swing House of Representatives districts suggest that Republicans could be playing with fire over control of the chamber after 2014, due to ongoing budget battles that have led to a government shutdown and brinkmanship on raising the nation's debt ceiling.
The surveys, which were commissioned by the liberal group MoveOn.org Political Action and conducted by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling, found that at least 17 districts that are currently held by Republicans could swing in next year's elections.
Democrats need to swing 17 seats to regain control of the House.
"Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House," pollster Jim Williams wrote in a memo along with the results. "These poll results make clear that if the election were held today, such a pickup would be well within reach."
What is clearly hurting the GOP, from the results — the perception, as evidenced in numerous polls already, that they are to blame for the ongoing government shutdown that entered into its sixth day Sunday.
Republicans are losing to a generic Democratic challenger in 17 of the districts surveyed —CA-31, CO-06, FL-02, FL-10, FL-13, IA-03, IA-04, IL-13, KY-06, MI-01, MI-07, MI-11, NY-19, OH-14, PA-07, PA-08, WI-07.
And in four more districts, the Republican incumbent would trail a generic Democrat after pollsters told survey respondents that their representatives supported the government shutdown. Those districts were CA-10, NY-11, NY-23, VA-02.
In all of the districts, voters oppose the shutdown by at least a 10-point margin. In some more heavily affected districts — such as Virginia's second district that is occupied by Republican Rep. Scott Rigell — the disparity is even more staggering. Only 29% support the shutdown, compared with 65% who oppose.
Take the results with a grain of salt — it's still much too early to draw any definitive conclusions from what's now a six-day shutdown, and the 2014 elections are more than a year away.
Nevertheless, political analyst Larry Sabato said last week that Oct. 1 — the first day of the shutdown — was the " the best day for Democrats in the U.S. House this cycle." Still, he expects Republicans to retain control of the House because of built-in advantages.
"Simply put, there’s no reason why the House should be in play this cycle, and if it is in play the Republicans will have only themselves to blame," Sabato wrote.
You can see a general overview of the poll results here and a breakdown of the individual districts in the following links: CA-10 , CA-21 , CA-31 , CO-06 , FL-02 , FL-10 , FL-13 , IA-03 , IA-04 , KY-06 , IL-13 , MI-01 , MI-07 , MI-11 , NV-03 , NY-11 , NY-19 , NY-23 , OH-06 , OH-14 PA-07 , PA-08 , VA-02 , and WI-07 .
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