Larry Sabato: Here Comes the 2010 GOP Tidal Wave

Posted: Sep 02, 2010 9:34 AM
With exactly two months to go before the 2010 midterm elections, University of Virginia professor and sharp political analyst Larry Sabato has finalized his election outcome predictions.  Let's put it this way: It's not a good morning at the DNC.

Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. This is a “net” number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana. This estimate, which may be raised or lowered by Election Day, is based on a careful district-by-district analysis, plus electoral modeling based on trends in President Obama’s Gallup job approval rating and the Democratic-versus-Republican congressional generic ballot (discussed later in this essay). If anything, we have been conservative in estimating the probable GOP House gains, if the election were being held today.

In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of 7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control ( 10), but are more likely to end up with 8 (or maybe 9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react)...

The inescapable conclusion is that the Senate is on the bubble, with only a slight lean at Labor Day toward Democratic retention.

The statehouses will provide the third leg of the Republicans’ 2010 victory. We have long suggested the GOP would gain a net 6 governorships. We now believe they will win 8. This boon to the GOP for redistricting will be enhanced by a gain of perhaps 300 to 500 seats in the state legislatures, and the addition of Republican control in 8 to 12 legislative chambers around the country.

He's predicting a political bloodbath.  Republicans will take 47 seats in the House, 8 in the Senate, and 8 Governorships.  Especially interesting is his note that the House prediction is likely a floor rather than a ceiling.  If a Republican pickup of nearly 50 seats is Sabato's conservative estimate, I'd love to see his outlier scenarios.  He also adds this intriguing historical fact:  

Since World War II, the House of Representatives has flipped parties on six occasions (1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1994, and 2006). Every time, the Senate flipped too, even when it had not been predicted to do so. These few examples do not create an iron law of politics, but they do suggest an electoral tendency.
If history is to repeat itself in 2010, one of the sitting senators who will almost undoubtedly fall victim to the Red Tide certainly looked plenty desperate last night.