Could House Republicans lose control of the lower chamber if Mitt Romney performs poorly at the top of the ticket? That's the question our colleagues examine today, and the answer is "not likely, but ..."
First, here's why it's not likely. Shane Goldmacher explains.
Democrats could win all the seats that lean their direction, plus sweep the 24 most competitive races in the country, and still fall well short of the majority. To take control ... the Democrats would have to win all the races that lean their way (16) all tossups (24) and nearly two-thirds of GOP-leaning districts (11 of 17).
Now for the cautionary tale for Republicans. Goldmacher again:
If Romney does not bounce back, he could complicate some lawmakers' reelection prospects, however.
Take Rep. Robert Dold of Illinois, who is already running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. Every vote Romney cedes to Obama is an additional crossover vote that Dold, who supports abortion rights, will need if he is to become a sophomore member.
If Romney's numbers continue to sag, a key question is whether the donor community will jettison him for vulnerable congressional candidates such as Dold.