Washington (CNN) - The number two House Democrat predicted Tuesday that after plummeting poll numbers following a two week government shutdown it's easy to see how Republicans could lose control of the House of Representatives in 2014.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer recounted a conversation to reporters on Capitol Hill that he had recently with Charlie Cook, a top political handicapper who publishes regular analysis of congressional races across the country in the Cook Political Report.
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"The fact is I told Charlie: you think historically it's hard for us to win, but my observation is it's pretty easy for them to lose," Hoyer said, referring to House Republicans.
Hoyer told reporters "my optimism level is good," citing recruiting efforts by House Democratic campaign chairman Steve Israel, D-New York. He pointed to two red- leaning districts in Arkansas where he thought Democrats had opportunities to pick up seats.
The Maryland Democrat emphasized that although the top GOP leaders backed the final deal to re-open the government, the majority of House Republicans voted against it - something that will cause voters to change the leadership of the House. "I think what you see is a party [the GOP] that the public does not believe is making common sense.
Democrats need to win back 17 GOP held seats next November to take back control of the House.