At the Rothenberg Political Report, we have counted 200 safe Republican seats and another 22 seats where the GOP has a clear advantage. Democrats have 161 safe seats and another 17 seats that lean their way. Even if Democrats win all 35 tossup races, they would fall five seats short of a majority.
Of course, Kristol’s suggestion that Democrats could retake the House isn’t based on an assessment of individual races. It’s based on the generic ballot number and his assertion that a virtually even popular vote “tends to translate into pretty even results in seats split between the two parties.”
But, contrary to Kristol’s assumption, a generic vote that shows the parties even probably would not translate into a roughly even number of seats for the parties. Experienced Democratic observers point out that their voters are not evenly distributed throughout the country. Instead, Democrats tend to be packed into urban areas, which mean that they are likely to underperform a very close popular vote, at least slightly.