Veteran Republican pollster Glen Bolger is up with an interesting analysis Thursday arguing that Democrats won't take back the House in 2012 for two reasons: First, presidential coattails in re-election bids are historically not very long and, second, Republicans have more control over the redistricting process than they've had in 20 years.
"Sorry, Dems," Bolger concludes, "but you are in the House wilderness for at least the next four years."
Bolger, a principal at Public Opinion Strategies, highlights three successful presidential campaigns -- Ronald Reagan in 1984, Bill Clinton in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2004.
In each instance, the wins brought only modest gains for the president's party in the House. In 1984, the GOP gained 16 seats on Reagan's coattails. Democrats picked up nine seats with Clinton's win in 1996 and the GOP netted only three seats when Bush won in 2004.
Those numbers suggest that even if Obama rebounds and wins re-election by a large margin, it may not reverse the GOP's successes this year.
Bolger also points out that Republicans have significant control over the redistricting process because of their gains in governorships and in state legislatures.
"In the 2001 redistricting process, Democrats drew the lines of 135 seats, while GOPers drew the lines for 98 -- a 37 seat advantage for the Dems," Bolger writes. "Now, Republicans control drawing 193 seats outright, while the Dems have just 44. That's a 149 seat advantage for the GOP."
Bolger notes, appropriately, that Republicans can't redraw all those districts to their advantage. In fact, we've reported that in some states -- like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan -- Republican gains may actually make their redistricting efforts much more difficult.
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