January 13th, 2010
02:55 PM ET
8 years ago

GOP sees a path to midterm victory

Washington (CNN)-– Less than 50 gets you 40. That's a rule of electoral math according to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, who is carefully tracking President Obama's approval rating 10 months before the midterm elections.

McCarthy believes that if Obama's approval rating dips below 50, then the GOP has a solid shot of picking up 40 Democratic-held seats – enough to wrest the House majority out of the party's hands. That majority would give Republicans a greater voice in shaping legislation, and the power to try and rework the health care bill as they see fit.

Currently, Democrats hold 256 seats in the House, while Republicans claim 178. There is one vacancy.

McCarthy is not the only Republican talking takeover. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, is also bullish on the GOP's prospects of a return to power – a notion that seemed remote this time last year.

But now, Cantor and McCarthy see a chance to re-take the Hill, counting on a nation fed up with one-party rule in Washington. The two congressmen laid out a hopeful scenario Tuesday evening, describing the GOP's path to victory to a small group of reporters. Cantor acknowledged it would be an uphill climb, but not an impossible one: "We believe we can take back this majority."

Still, the two Republican leaders acknowledged the stars must align for the GOP. Overwhelming voter angst with Washington must continue. The GOP will have to argue effectively against Obama's agenda while promoting their own policy solutions. And Republicans need to raise a flood of money to try and compete with Obama's fundraising prowess.

Expect Republicans to talk about cap-and-trade, the stimulus bill and, of course, health care in the coming months. Cantor said House Republicans will create a "21st Century Agenda for the Republican Party" somewhat similar to the "Contract with America" to help promote their agenda.

McCarthy, who is recruiting GOP candidates, said that they will have about 100 solid challengers for the 2010 election cycle, emphasizing that a quarter of them will be minority.

Still, for all the talk of seizing the speaker's gavel, the GOP has some internal housekeeping it must tend to. While Cantor sought to downplay any rifts, there is real anger from congressional Republicans with how Michael Steele is running the Republican National Committee. Some conservative activists are frustrated with the national leadership, and are expressing it publicly.

And there's another bit of campaign math that may stand between Republicans and their goal of a new majority: Congressional Democrats have a dismal 36 percent approval rating, according to a December Pew Research Center poll – but the GOP's, at 29 percent, is even worse.

Follow Mark Preston on Twitter @prestoncnn

Filed under: GOP
soundoff (89 Responses)

    It's already happening. Two governorships in states that voted for Obama now belong to the republicans. The republican is closing in on Teddy's seat in Mass., a predominately democratic state. It doesn't take a slide rule to figure out that the voters are pissed at out of control spending and crappy health care reform.

    January 13, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Leo

    Bring it on.

    January 13, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Time for a third option, at least.

    January 13, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. alma

    Sarah Palin!!! All she has ever done from the time she had the stage was Cheer Lead herself, and always find fault... never very positive.

    January 13, 2010 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  5. Dutch the Great

    Cantor and McCarthy are both out of their minds. I can't speak for McCarthy, but I can speak for you Mr. Cantor. You're gone!!! All you republicans think about is getting back in power and not the American people. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Most of you are in denial over what happened in the previos 8 years prior to President Obama being elected. I see republicans on networks saying 9/11 didn't happen under Bush's watch(9/11/2001). That no terror attacks happened on American soil since 9/11(Anthrax, D.C. Snipers, VA Tech Shooter). Instead of reading Mr. Steele's 12 step program book to stop the POTUS' agenda, you guys need a 12 step program to get out of denial. It's truly sad!

    January 13, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. JonDie

    A GOP "victory" will certainly be a pyrrhic victory for our country given how the GOP almost erased our country from the map with a Soviet Union-systel collapse from 2001 to 2009.

    January 13, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. B Lewis in Austin

    Dream on. If they want to get elected, then they should do something. As far as I can see, they have stayed on the sidelines and did everything they could to obstruct any Dem proposal and say "No" at every opportunity. The Dem battlecry leading up to the 2010 election should be "Remember GWB, Cheney, Rove" because that is where will be if their hopes come true

    January 13, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. ugogrl


    January 13, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Elizabeth

    Nobody wants these bozos back ! Obama inherited the mess they created in the first place.

    January 13, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. R.B.

    It would be a big mistake to let GOP pick up any seats. We are still recoevering from the damagae they did when they had the White House and the Congress for 8 years. We don't need a repeat of GOP HELL so soon. The fact that we are still recovering from botched wars, an economy in a shambles, and the dollar way below the Euro is enough to know that we don't need more neocons in charge right now.The fact that angry older white people keeping going to the Tea Party Town Halls doesn't mean America has spoken either.

    January 13, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. The Voice

    Sorry Cantor and McCarthy, American will not let you continue to destroy out country. Go work for FOX News, thats the only place anyone will belive or listen to your ignorance.

    January 13, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    You would have to be dumber that a bag of rocks to vote for a [R], after what they did to our country since 2000. And they still don't think they did anything wrong! To think that cognizant Americans would actually CHOOSE to return people to power who proudly claim they didn't learn ANY lessons from the recent disasterous [R] FAILURE is quite sobering. Bin Laden must enjoy this: he doesn't have to do a thing to destroy our country; the rightwing underbelly of this nation is doing it for him, from the inside out.

    January 13, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Allen

    As poor as the Dem's have done since they took the House and the Presidency if the RNC do not pick up at least 30 seats it would be pathetic. We have been run like a banana republic.

    January 13, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Should I believe a billionaire on am radio

    Nice dream.

    January 13, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  15. NVa Native

    It would truely be the statement of the "American Idiot" if we were to hand over the control of our government back to the same politicians who screwed it it up so horribly and terrorized our population over the past eight or more years.
    Are we really that ignorant as a scociety??

    January 13, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Sadly, the Republicans are fooling themselves. The pain from a recession alone simply does not provide the kind of tailwind needed for that kind of seismic shift. Keep in mind that during the height of recessions of the 70's, 80's, early 90's, and early 00's control of Congress and the White House remained pretty much the same as before the economies tanked (regardless of which party had been in power).

    Newt Gingrich was effective in 2004 to build the momentum to swing control of Congress by presenting a positive, hopeful, and consistent campaign that focused on very specific policy positions that the Republicans hoped to achieve....and THIS approach is what won the day.

    Unfortunately for the Republicans, 2010 is very different from 1994. There is no bold, visionary leader among the Republican ranks who can articulate a clear policy agenda in the context of optimism and hope. The Republicans are not seen as a party with a mission...they are simply seen as the anti-Democratic party...with certainly not enough "there there" to build the kind of momentum to actually regain control.

    January 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. gt

    if we dont start creating more jobs ... it will be more than that,,, we need jobs now.....americans dont care who is in charge now,, no jobs ,, no jobs for you....

    January 13, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Giving Power Back to The Republicans is Like . . .

    Giving the keys to America back to a Convicted Serial Drunk Driver.

    January 13, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    IT IS QUOTED: "McCarthy believes that if Obama's approval rating dips below 50, then the GOP has a solid shot of picking up 40 Democratic-held seats..."

    Okay – then what are you going to do IF you win these seats........Say NO, NO, NO even more???????????

    AND, stop getting your hopes up too high. The POLLS lie – they lied all during the presidential campaign and they ARE NOT accurate NOW!!

    I have a HUGE, HUGE family with even more FRIENDS. In our lifetime, NONE of us were ever POLLED??? This is why YOU are in for a RUDE AWAKENING when 2010 and 2012 come along!! Democrats tend to get FIRED UP last minute and our impact is PHENOMENAL!

    January 13, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. IndyVoter

    Are the Republicans on CRACK?!...A significant number of those who are unhappy with President Obama are Liberals on the far left that are mad that he hasn't gone FAR ENOUGH to the left and are mad that he has tried to compromise and work with the Repbulicans. Make no mistake, those liberals are NOT going to vote for Republicans. The Republicans have done nothing but scream negatives about President Obama in Independents' ear since Nov. 5th 2008....Many Independents are hypercritical, fickle and indecisive and rarely have anything good to say about an incumbent. While the President was trying to save this country from emminent DOOM, the Republicans have been repeating the same tired talking-points and obstructing progress. And now that some independents have taken the bait, the Republicans try to act like there is some Republican mandate to retake the country. NOT SO! The country is divided pretty much 50/50 just like it was before the election and the Democrats are going to do just fine! Keep on underestimating the Democrats, Republicans, and you will experience the same kind of tail-whipping you did in '08. To all the Democrats: Don't believe the hype. Get registered and pack the voting booths in 2010 and 2012 just like we did in 08!!

    January 13, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. NC

    Why don't these idiot repubs help get some bills passed that will benefit Americans? Answer: all they care about is getting elected.

    January 13, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    VERY revealing that they are concerned with THEIR own welfare down the road as America reels badly in response to the eight years they controlled the White House and six years they held Congress hostage to NeoCon greed and deceit.

    January 13, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    You know what they say, wish in one hand and ....

    January 13, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. mark

    America is sick of your socialist policies obama, it's time for real change!

    January 13, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. chris l

    democrats are doomed. its funny that you mention how low republican approval is. Just remember that the Tea Party Movement has a higher approval than both the anti American Radical Democrats and the Republicans. When push comes to shove thias group will never vote for the Dems. In the end, the Republicans will completely destroy the dem majority. As for our one and done unqualified President, fuggeddaboutit!!!

    January 13, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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