The chairman of the Democratic National Committee predicts that Democrats will retain control of the House and Senate after November midterm elections.
“Do you think you will keep the House?” ABC’s Christine Amanpour asked DNC Chairman Tim Kaine Sunday.
“I do,” he said. “I think it’s going to be close, and as you point [out], these races are very close. But from this point forward, it’s all about turnout and ground game, and we’re seeing good early voting trends and we — we’ve got work to do, but we think we can do it.”
“Are you saying that all the polling, the predictions are wrong? Because everywhere you look, it says that you’re not going to keep the House,” Amanpour wondered.
“The polling is moving,” Kaine explained. “We really haven’t seen since Labor Day polls moving against us. … What Democrats tend to specialize in is the ground game, the turnout. The more people turn out, the better we do, and we are seeing strong trends at the presidential rallies and early voting.”
Kaine may have been referring to a Washington Post story reporting that early voter turnout is repeating the pattern seen in 2006, when the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress from the Republicans.
The top Democrat was even more sure about the Senate.
“We’re not taking a single race for granted, so let me start there, but I think, you know, four or five months ago, the Republicans thought they had a great chance at taking both houses. For a variety of reasons, the Senate has gotten much more difficult for them,” he said.
“We’re seeing this week strong moves in polling for our Senate candidates in California, in Washington. Pennsylvania has gone, Joe Sestak from behind to even. So we feel like we’ve got a very good ground game, but a lot more work to do. We’re not taking it for granted.”
But not everyone shares Kaine’s optimism that Democrats can keep the House.
A review by The New York Times found that Republicans will mostly likely win the House but not the Senate.
A costly and polarizing Congressional campaign heads into its closing week with Republicans in a strong position to win the House but with Democrats maintaining a narrow edge in the battle for the Senate, according to a race-by-race review and lawmakers and strategists on both sides.
In the House, 28 Democratic seats are either leaning Republican or all but lost to Republican candidates, according to the latest ratings of Congressional races by The New York Times, while 40 seats held by Democrats are seen as tossups. To win a majority, Republicans need to pick up a net of 39 seats; to reach that threshold they will probably have to win at least 44 seats now held by Democrats to offset a handful of projected Democratic victories in Republican-held districts.
In the Senate, races for Democratic-held seats in California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia are rated as tossups by The Times. Republicans seem assured of taking Democratic seats in other states, including Arkansas and Indiana, but must win at least five of the seven most competitive remaining races to seize a majority, and Democrats improved their standing in at least three of those states last week.
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Oct. 24, 2010.