House majority math still doesn’t add up for Democrats

Democrats continue to face an uphill battle in their quest to re-take the House, but a few key races are moving in their favor.

The Fix is updating our race ratings in 11 competitive House districts, six of which are moving toward Democrats and five of which are moving toward Republicans.

While the GOP's efforts to win three imperiled Democratic seats (Indiana's 2nd, North Carolina's 8th and Oklahoma's 2nd) appear to have improved, three races that were previously rated as "toss-ups" are moving in the Democrats' favor: an open seat in California's 41st district and the seats held by embattled Reps. David Rivera (R-Fla.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).

The overall impact on the race for the House is a slight improvement in Democratic prospects but nothing large enough to suggest the majority is truly up for grabs.

Republicans continue to be favored to win 226 seats, while Democrats are now favored to win 185 seats (as compared to 182 two weeks ago). In the middle are 24 toss-up races that, even if they all went for Democrats, would leave Republicans with a 17-seat majority.

At this point, Democrats would need to win all the toss-ups and half of the 18 races we rate as "lean Republican" in order to take the majority.

By virtue of those three Democratic-held seats moving to "likely Republican," the GOP is now a heavy favorite to win in six Democratic-held districts. That means, while Democrats have to gain a net of 25 seats to re-take the House, the number is really more than 30. 

At this point, Democrats still have to move more seats into the toss-up column in order to have a shot at the majority.

Below are the changes, and make sure to check out our full ratings chart.

Moving in Democrats' favor:

* RI-2 moves from "toss-up" to "lean Democratic"

Cicilline still has problems, but he registered a convincing primary win, and a new WPRI-TV poll last week showed him turning what had been a 15-point deficit in February into a 44 percent to 38 percent lead. This is a strongly Democratic district.

* CA-41 moves from "toss-up" to "lean Democratic"

Democrat Mark Takano is now a slight favorite against Republican Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione in this Democratic-leaning district. Neither national party has spent money here.

* FL-26 moves from "toss-up" to "lean Democratic"

Rivera is being left for dead by some local Republicans, who are already talking about possible 2014 candidates, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) hasn't done much to defend his friend. Not a good sign. And a poll from a GOP-leaning pollster last week showed Rivera trailing Democrat Joe Garcia by 10 points.

* FL-2 moves from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican"

Rep. Steve Southerland's (R-Fla.) district appears to have taken a turn for the competitive, with both sides spending money there in recent days. An internal Democratic poll last week showed Southerland and former state senator Al Lawson (D) tied at 43 percent.

* FL-10 moves from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican"

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) suddenly finds himself in a race against much-hyped Democratic recruit Val Demings. Another recent Democratic internal shows Demings within five points of Webster.

* CA-47 moves from "lean Democratic" to "likely Democratic"

This one might have been rated a little aggressively. There's little sign right now that state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D) is in much trouble, despite some GOP hype surrounding Long Beach City Councilman Gary DeLong (R).

Moving in Republicans' favor:

*IA-2 moves from "likely Democratic" to "lean Democratic"

Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa) has emerged as a GOP target, with Republicans spending about half a million dollars against him.

* NC-8 moves from "lean Republican" to "likely Republican"

National Democrats have pulled their advertising in this district, which was drawn significantly more Republican in redistricting. At this point, Republicans are strong favorites to win three Democratic-held seats in North Carolina, with a possible fourth in Rep. Mike McIntyre's (D-N.C.) toss-up district.

* OK-2 moves from "lean Republican" to "likely Republican"

Retiring Rep. Dan Boren's (D-Okla.) seat is looking like a lost cause, with national Democrats declining to spend money here. Republican Markwayne Mullin is a strong favorite.

IN-2 moves from "lean Republican" to "likely Republican"

* Another likely GOP pickup comes in Senate candidate Rep. Joe Donnelly's (D-Ind.) seat, which Democrats had hoped to contest but haven't spent money on.

* PA-6 moves from "lean Republican" to "likely Republican"

Rep. Jim Gerlach (D-Pa.) is always a target, but his internal polling has him up by a huge margin, and Democrats haven't spent money to help 2010 nominee Manan Trivedi.

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