Among all voters, there has been a significant swing since 2008 when Democrats took their new majority won in 2006 to an even higher level. But when you home in on those people in this survey who are most likely to vote, the numbers are devastating. The NBC/WSJ survey, when combined with a previously released NPR study of likely voters in 70 competitive House districts by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger, point to an outcome for Democrats that is as serious as a heart attack. Make no mistake about it: There is a wave out there, and for Democrats, the House is, at best, teetering on the edge.
Anyway you slice it, the numbers are bad news for Democrats. Cook points out that Democratic voters are less enthusiastic about voting, and the generic ballot has swung in the Republican direction. This dire warning from Cook will send Washington Democrats into a further panic, which will probably result in them doing even more things that will crush enthusiasm among their base. They’ll ramp up their misguided faux deficit fear-mongering while millions struggle without a lifeline in the recession.
I want to make a small point about the generic ballot. Democrats currently hold an unusually large majority in the House. In 2008, Democrats won about 53 percent of all votes cast for Congress. To keep all their House seats, Democrats don't need to win just the majority of votes cast for Congress but need to receive a similarly big majority of them. Even if Democratic candidates manage to get a majority of votes for Congress in November, if it’s only a small majority, say 50.5 percent, the result will be a large loss of seats.
This November, especially because of how districts are gerrymandered, Republicans could win what is declared an overwhelming victory, a net gain of 30 or more seats, even though Democrats receive more total votes for Congress than Republicans.