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Political Handicapper: 27 House Dem Seats Now Listed As ‘Toss-Up’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


As voters continue to sour on President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris amid record-high inflation, gas prices, and a porous southwestern border, down-ballot Democrats appear to be suffering as well.

The respected Cook Political Report noted on Wednesday an outsized number of House Democratic seats — 27 — are now being considered as “toss-up” contests whereby most were once safely blue.

The election handicapper noted that “eight Democrat House seats moved Wednesday into more competitive categories, bringing the total number of Democrat-held House seats in toss-up territory or worse to 27,” Newsmax reported.

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Cook Political Report adds:

President Biden’s approval rating remains stuck at 42 percent, and if anything the political environment has deteriorated for Democrats since January as inflation concerns have soared and Build Back Better has stalled. That means no Democrat in a single-digit Biden (or Trump-won) district is secure, and even some seats Biden carried by double-digit margins in 2020 could come into play this fall, giving the GOP surprising “reach” opportunities.

This week, we’re moving eight Democratic-held seats into more competitive categories. With these changes, there are 27 Democratic seats in Toss Up or worse, and that list is certain to grow longer when Florida and New Hampshire finalize their lines. By contrast, there are only 12 GOP-held seats in Toss Up or worse – all of which are due to redistricting, not atmospheric factors. Republicans need to net just five seats to regain the House.

Rating Changes:

IN-01: Mrvan (D) – Likely D to Lean D

NV-03: Lee (D) – Lean D to Toss Up

NV-04: Horsford (D) – Lean D to Toss Up

NJ-03: Kim (D) – Solid D to Likely

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According to the handicapper, “likely” is defined as seats that “are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential to become engaged.” Meanwhile, “lean” means seats that are “considered competitive races, but one party has an advantage.” Finally, “toss-up” seats are those considered to be “the most competitive; either party has a good chance of winning.”

Citing the report, Newsmax said that the number of competitive Democratic seats will likely grow once Florida and New Hampshire complete their redistricting maps from the 2020 Census.

Previous reporting has also suggested that Democrats are facing strong political headwinds ahead of the November midterms.

In mid-February, for instance, Politico reported that according to Democrats’ own internal polling, Republicans are winning on cultural issues:

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Democrats’ own research shows that some battleground voters think the party is “preachy,” “judgmental” and “focused on culture wars,” according to documents obtained by POLITICO.

And the party’s House campaign arm had a stark warning for Democrats: Unless they more forcefully confront the GOP’s “alarmingly potent” culture war attacks, from critical race theory to defunding the police, they risk losing significant ground to Republicans in the midterms.

In presentations over the past two weeks, party officials and operatives used polling and focus group findings to argue Democrats can’t simply ignore the attacks, particularly when they’re playing at a disadvantage. A generic ballot of swing districts from late January showed Democrats trailing Republicans by 4 points, according to the polling.

The party recommended blunting attacks from Republican by having their members deny that they support defunding police departments amid rising crime, or that they want “open borders and amnesty,” though the part has not addressed either issue as they hold congressional majorities, nor has the party pushed back much on Biden’s policies exacerbating both issues.

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Earlier this month, Biden’s polling had sunk to a level that led one Democratic operative to speak about it in panicked terms.

“It’s bad,” the anonymous Democratic strategist said, according to The Hill. “You have an energy crisis that’s paralyzing and inflation is at a 40-year high and we’re heading into a recession. The problem is simple. The American people have lost confidence in him.”

“Everyone needs to come to terms with the reality that we’re going to get slaughtered in November,” the strategist continued. “That’s a fact. His polling has gotten worse, not better. It’s indicative of the fact that people have lost confidence in his leadership. There’s nothing they’re going to be able to do.”

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