Jay LaPrete/AP Photo
Republican congressional candidate Bob Gibbs, left, introduces U.S. House Republican Leader John Boehner at a Zanesville, Ohio rally, Oct. 30, 2010.
Jay LaPrete/AP Photo
It's just about all over but the voting and, according to Gallup's last pre-Election Day poll, the question isn't whether Republicans will take control of the House — that's a foregone conclusion — but how big their majority will be.
Gallup reports that its survey suggests that Republicans could win north of 60 seats. They only need to win 39 for the majority.
Voters' generic desire for Republican control of the House is a very lopsided 55 percent to 40 percent. There's no glimmer of hope for Democrats in those numbers.
According to Gallup:
Gallup's historical model suggests that a party needs at least a two-point advantage in the national House vote to win a majority of the 435 seats. The Republicans' current likely voter margin suggests that this scenario is highly probable, making the question of interest this election not whether the GOP will win the majority, but by how much. Taking Gallup's final survey's margin of error into account, the historical model predicts that the Republicans could gain anywhere from 60 seats on up, with gains well beyond that possible.
It should be noted, however, that this year's 15-point gap in favor of the Republican candidates among likely voters is unprecedented in Gallup polling and could result in the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations. This means that seat projections have moved into uncharted territory, in which past relationships between the national two-party vote and the number of seats won may not be maintained.
So it could be a mid-term blowout of historic proportions, in other words. If Gallup is right, the losses under President Obama could easily outdistance President Clinton's. Democrats lost 52 seats in 1994, leading to the speakership of Newt Gingrich.
Indeed, Gallup makes it sound as though the Democrats could be facing losses approaching the 71 seats they lost in 1938 because of Democratic in-fighting and resistance to Franklin Roosevelt's scheme to pack the Supreme Court.
For Democrats to have a chance to hold on, they would have had to have a massive turnout from an energetic base. But Gallup doesn't foresee that from its polling.
Instead, it believes turnout will be about 45 percent, making it slightly higher than in recent years.
And within the group of voters expected to show up at polling places Tuesday, Gallup expects there will be more Republicans than Democrats based on responses its pollsters received from likely voters.
The Oct. 28-31 poll finds that nationally, 75% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican are "absolutely certain" they will vote in the 2010 midterms, compared with 68% of Democrats. While these figures are not the only indicator of relative turnout strength — this is just one question in Gallup's seven-item likely voter model — the record-high seven-point gap between the parties is strongly indicative of a relative surge in GOP turnout.
Added to the good news for Republicans is the composition of those voters who told Gallup they would be heading to the polls. Another snippet:
Gallup's final likely voter pool consists of 35% of Americans identifying as Republicans, 32% as Democrats, and 32% as independents.
And those independents are breaking significantly towards Republicans.
Independents tilt toward the Republican candidate by a sizable 59% to 31% margin. The margin for Republican congressional candidates among independents is much greater among likely voters than among registered voters, suggesting independents voting Republican are significantly more likely to turn out than are those voting Democratic.