Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 2:35 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack
In the race for control of the US House of Representatives, Democrats bolstered their majority, but it appears that they will wrest only 20-23 seats from the Republicans, considerably short of the party's expectations. CQ Politics writes: "Democrats were poised to make a net gain of at least 16 seats, augmenting the 30-seat gain that they made in the 2006 elections to reverse a dozen years of House Republican rule. Democrats unseated at least 10 Republican incumbents and also captured at least 10 other districts that Republicans left open to retire or seek other office. Four Democratic incumbents were defeated." In the Senate (see our US Senate Report in Writing on the Wall) the Democrats will also fall shirt of their desired goal of 60 seats, a veto-proof congress. While Obama's broad and commanding victory helped pull-in a number of Republican-leaning districts and Senate seats now held by Republicans, the Democratic congressional gains are modest relative to the dire state of the Republican brand and the record-low approval ratings of incumbent Republican President George W. Bush. Still, the overall gains in both chambers of congress should provide Obama with a good head start to advance his agenda. Still, with the Republicans holding at least 41 seats (and current trends suggesting they may wind up with as many as 44)--and one additional seat due to the strong possibility that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman (i) will be tossed from the Democratic caucus--the Senate is hardly filibuster-proof at this point, a potential problem for the new Democratic administration.