Although events during the next 12 months could change the picture, Republican chances of winning a majority of seats in the congressional elections a year from now appear bleak.
Recent Gallup surveys indicate that if voters were to cast their votes for members of Congress on Tuesday of this coming week - just one year in advance of the 1978 election - GOP gains in the House would be at best, minimal. If anything, the survey results indicate some strengthening of the Democratic position since 1976.
The party in power typically loses 35 to 45 seats on off-year elections. Only once in the last four decades - in the congressional election of 1934 - did the party in power gain assets. Losses in off-year elections range from four in 1962 to 71 in 1938.
Since 1932, The Republicans have held a majority of seats in the House of Representatives only four out of 36 years.
The extent to which the United States has become a one-party government is best illustrated by this comparison if the United States were a parliamentary democracy such as Great Britain, a Republican would have occupied the White House only four of these 36 years.
In both the two previous off-year congressional elections - 1970 and 1974 - Republicans failed to improve their strength in the year preceding the election. In fact, Gallup Poll findings obtained one year in advance of the election proved to be an accurate indication of the eventual election returns. This would indicate that, if the Republicans hope to make substantial gains in 1978, an entirely different kind of political campaign may have to be waged during the coming months.
It is of course possible that 1978 could be different from 1970 or 1974, with the GOP able to make political hay out of the many tough problems facing the Carter administration - energy, the Panama Canal treaties and unemployment, to name only a few.