Ask any Democratic elected official about the party's chances of winning back the House this November and he/she will tell you that it's possible but not likely. That's true(ish) but requires a decidedly broad definition of the word "possible", according to the latest House election model by John Sides at the Monkey Cage Blog.
Writes Sides: "The prognosis for Democrats isn’t any better: the median estimate is a small seat loss (to 196 seats). The chance of their regaining the House is still very low — about 1%." (Make sure to read Sides' full post for an explanation of what factors go into the model and how it produces the results.)
The most likely outcome, according to Sides, is a five-seat gain for Republicans -- meaning that they would control somewhere in the neighborhood of 239 seats in the 114th Congress. If Republicans did get to 239 seats, it would be the second most seats they have controlled since the 80th Congress, which spanned from 1947 to 1949. (Republicans controlled 242 seats after the 2010 tidal wave election.)
The danger for Democrats' in Sides' model is that donors sometime soon begin to walk away from giving to the House cause to devote all -- or most -- of their cash to trying to keep control of the Senate. (That is less of a problem that it was before the McCutcheon ruling, of course.) To date, that hasn't happened; as of the end of March, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $2.5 million more than its Republican counterpart so far in 2014.
But, the closer the November election gets -- and the more models that look like Sides' come out -- the harder it will be for Democrats to credibly argue that the GOP House majority is truly in trouble. A one percent chance is a chance -- just not much of one.