Van Hollen Predicts Democrats Will Retain Majority

Posted November 1, 2010 at 7:06am

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen predicted Monday morning that “the voters are going to surprise all these Washington pollsters” and retain control of the House in Tuesday’s election.

The Maryland Democrat, appearing on CNN’s “American Morning,” disputed recent surveys forecasting a GOP takeover, saying that he was “confident at the end of the day that [Democrats] will have a majority in the House.” Across the board, polls and pundits have predicted that Republicans would retake the House; the GOP needs to pick up 39 seats to get control.

Higher than expected Democratic turnout for early voting in many districts was a “clear sign” that Democrats will defy expectations and come to the polls, Van Hollen said, adding that he believed many voters were “having big second thoughts” about voting for Republican candidates that he characterized as extreme.

“They’re taking a close look at some of these Republican candidates and they don’t like what they see,” he said.

Van Hollen’s comments come a day after the release of a CNN/Opinion Research poll indicating that Republicans have a 10 percentage-point generic ballot lead over Democrats, a slightly larger edge than the GOP enjoyed days before the 1994 takeover.

A Gallup poll also released Sunday found that, depending on turnout assumptions, 52 percent to 55 percent of likely voters prefer a GOP candidate, compared to 40 percent to 42 percent who said they preferred a Democrat.

Just 26 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), CNN/Opinion Research found. Republicans have worked hard to tie vulnerable House Democrats to Pelosi and President Barack Obama this cycle.

Van Hollen said polling data indicates that “compared to 1994, they really don’t like the Republicans as an alternative.”