The universe of House seats that Republicans could conceivably flip into their column is expanding and the number of seats that Democrats would wrest from the GOP is dwindling.
That is the finding of a CQ Politics analysis of all 435 districts in the House, which Democrats control 255 to 178, with two vacancies in Democratic-held districts.
To accurately reflect the current political environment, CQ Politics has decided to change the ratings of House races in 27 districts. All but four of the changes upgrade the prospects for Republicans — another sign of the challenge facing Democrats in November and the fact that the party’s hold on the House has grown less secure.
Of the 49 House races that CQ Politics now envisions as the most competitive, Democrats are the defending party in 42 districts and Republicans are the defending party in just seven.
Eighteen races are rated as “Tossups,” meaning that they have no clear favorite. CQ Politics moved three Democratic-held districts into this group: Michigan’s 7th, held by freshman Rep. Mark Schauer ; Mississippi’s 1st, represented by Rep. Travis W. Childers ; and New Hampshire’s 2nd, which Rep. Paul W. Hodes is giving up to run for Senate.
The only Republican-held seat in this grouping is the Illinois district of Rep. Mark Steven Kirk , who is running for Senate. CQ Politics originally gave Democrats a slight edge to win the seat but now sees no clear favorite between businessman Bob Dold (R) and Dan Seals (D), who lost to Kirk in 2006 and 2008.