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)
  1. Gary

    I believe that steele has it right when he stated that the gop will not win a majority in congress. Only an idiot would vote for a republican.How can so many people forget who dug the hole you are in. BUSH and his retard buddy CHENEY.

    January 13, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Lou from CT

    So let me see if I understand this – the Republicans are mad at how the Obama Administration is handling things and is salivating at the prospect of taking over one or both houses of Congress.
    Have they brought any substantive ideas of their own or do they feel that the "splatter theory" will bring them to the majority?
    Let's have a real debate here...

    January 13, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. republicans hate america

    you failed to notice that the rush limbaugh party has an approval rating of 17%

    January 13, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Donkey Party

    Delusion is bliss. Where are their ideas and policies? They have none.

    January 13, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The GOP can only take Congress if they get their collective act together–and I do mean "collective." As it stands now, the Republican Party is an awkward amalgam of true conservatives–small government, fiscal responsibility, respect for the rights of individuals–and neo-conservatives who spent the Bush years growing government, busting budgets, and spying on American citizens.

    Most Independents, like me, are far closer to being true conservatives than we are to being neo-cons. If the GOP expects to have any chance at all of taking Congress, they need a lot of people like me–and that means either dumping the bible-thumpers or, least, beating some sense and pragmatism into their otherwise impenetrable skulls.

    January 13, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Jane/Seattle

    Start out early trying to shape this discussion is the TACTIC. If the majority of IGNORE-ANT American voters hear it often enough, some will repeat this all the way to VOTE for these self-serving quacks! Citizens MUST Look Deeper to find the truth as there are so many out here spinning, manufacturing, and just overall trying to Confuse The Masses! FOX comes to MIND readily! This IS THE MAIN Problem in this two-party system. We the People don't have many REAL Voices for US as most of both parties are beholden to Big Bidness for their GRAVY TRAIN! Too Bad for us! Campaign Finance Reform is a must as soon as we can RETIRE the oldtimers and frauds! Peace

    January 13, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    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.
    So there is some hope that eventually the Health Care Reform could actually be set up to reduce costs. This should give Americans a reason to be optimistic about health care reform.

    January 13, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Keep counting the months and portraying wishful thinking fools. A lot can happen between now and the midterm elections. If the economy picks up, and it will, you and your joke of a party will fall to even more irrelevancy than it already has. I look forward to you being shown the door once again.

    January 13, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Donna J.

    You keep on believing that you will get the majority of seats. That is not going to happen. You have to remember that the Republican approval rating is worse than the Democrats. Do not forget that you are the party of "NO" so let us see you will be victorius. You must remember a person by the name of "BARACK OBAMA" IIT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

    January 13, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. The Film Professor

    Oh yeah, right. Dream on.

    By November, more people will be employed, and health care reform will be passed and the negative ads off the air. The Tea Partiers will have chased off all moderate Repugs and changed the GOP into the POP (Party of Palin), and they will have alienated all independent voters and generally anyone with any intelligence.

    And the Dems will continue to rule!

    January 13, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    While hundreds of thousands die in Haiti, the Right-wingers only concern is how to take back power in 2010. Truly disgusting.

    January 13, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Kevin B

    The majority of americans are not remotely ready to return to the days of control of congress to the republicans, they have proven that they put thier political interest ahead of average american interest time after time.

    Republicans have spent the last 12 months pushing fear, anger misinformation without one concrete idea to pull us out of the recession they created.

    I choose the party of progress over the party of selfishness in 2010. I choose the democrats !

    January 13, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Bing Hastings

    Go, go, goP.

    January 13, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Even if Obama's poll numbers fall below 50%, that doesn't seal a House takeover by the GOP. Kevin McCarthy really should check his assumptions again. I don't think that there will be that huge a gain in the House. 20 seats at most if they get that much.

    January 13, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Mike Syracuse, NY

    One promise obama has kept is to bring us together. the majority of americans are now opposed to every one of his major policy initiatives from the economy to health care. Thanks Obama, what will you do when you're voted out in 2012?

    January 13, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Terry from West Texas

    It could happen. American politics is controlled by the squishy middle. I'd say about 25% of the nation is hard core conservative and about 35% are more liberal learning. The other 40% bends with every wind. These are the people who call themselves "moderates" meaning that they have no ideas of any kind. They just vote against whoever is getting the most criticism at the time.

    The war is going well? We are for the war. The war is going badly? We are against it then.

    It takes $10,000 to train a pilot? Let's save money by teaching them how to take off but not how to land. That way we save $5,000!

    These people, according to Ann Coulter, have the IQ of a toaster.

    January 13, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. B

    The GOP is a joke..

    January 13, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Edna

    What makes the Republicans think that they can become the majority in either the House or the Senate after the 2010 elections? This group of Republicans are a bunch of rejects and have no interest in the American people. They are only interested in power. No one likes them. They are disgusting. I have never in my 63 years heard such nastiness directed toward the President of the United States from people who are supposed to work with him. All they want to do is work against him and not for the American people. Dream on Cantor and McCarthy. I can' t wait for the election cycle to be over so that you can see just what the American people think about the Republican Party.

    January 13, 2010 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Stephan

    But Obama's support is over 50 now, and he's bottoming out, and will likely be back up to high 50s or low 60s by election day.

    Better math, it's GDP, Stock Market and Unemployment. The first two are up, if the last one is down, so will be the hopes of the GOP.

    January 13, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. ttbala

    You idiots Repubs, you see the taking of the hill only in your dreams, I guess there is no harm in dreaming, however, this talk will make you the laghingstock of the nation after the mid term election, go for it.

    January 13, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. The Clear Thinking Independent

    We'll end up with another "Do-Nothing" Congress if the Republicans succeed. We can't afford that.

    The Democrats are in power. They should stay in the majority with a Democratic President. They should pass their agenda and in 2012, we hold the whole lot accountable.

    That's what we need in American Politics .... accountability. We have not had it for more than 35 years.

    January 13, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Jamie from Riverside

    Dumb! These guys need to take some bonehead math courses. Reminds me of Karl Rove just before the 98 elections when he proclamed that he had 'the math".

    January 13, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. nomorepoliticsplease

    that's all these politicians care about is " returning to power" power, power, power. Not making sure that the best possible plans are being put in place for the return of our country to its former glory, just power and money, power and money. sickening. they think he who dies with the most power and money wins...........

    January 13, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Stan

    Just the same junk from the Republican Party…let’s make plan to take over the House so we can have better offices. Let’s put a plan together that will capture enough seats to put us back in power. Therefore, we can give the citizens of this great Nation the same junk we gave them the previous eight years. What bunch of BULL!!! The Republican Party have no a plan. The idea was to just say “NO” to everything. If the America public is so crazy to put these “BUMs” back into power…then shame on them. What a joke “Eric Cantor”!!!

    January 13, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |



    January 13, 2010 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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