[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/24/art.king.gi.jpg caption="Republicans are increasingly nervous about widespread losses in the Senate and House."]WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republicans are increasingly nervous heading into the campaign’s final week - and their jitters have little to do with John McCain.
Most of the party’s top strategists expect significant losses in House and Senate races, with some predicting Democrats could cross the 60-seat mark in the Senate.
The current balance of power in the House is 235 Democrats and 199 Republicans, with one vacant seat last held by a Democrat. The current balance of power in the Senate is 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans and two independents who caucus with the Democrats (which gives Democrats 51 votes, and control of the Senate).
CNN spoke or communicated through email Friday with six leading GOP strategists, and the consensus heading into the final week was that Republicans would lose at least two dozen House seats, perhaps more. They also predicted the party would lose at least six Senate seats, and perhaps as many as nine.
One of the strategists predicted a 30-seat loss in the House; another said “25 plus.” The most optimistic of the six said 15-25 House seats would be lost.
As for the Senate, the estimates of lost seats ranged from “7-9, depending on the Stevens verdict,” to “could be as bad as eight.” Another put it this way: “We are precariously close to getting the D’s to 60. Depends on Mississippi and Georgia.”