Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 ranked Democrat in the House of Representatives, placed his party's odds at retaking control of the lower chamber at dead even today, offering a more bullish forecast than speaker John Boehner's prediction that there is a one-in-three shot the GOP would lose control of the House.
"There's a higher chance than one in three," Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters at his pen-and-pad briefing at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon. "At best from [Boehner's] perspective, I think it's 50-50."
In an interview with Fox News that aired Tuesday, the speaker seemed to caution Republicans that their majority is vulnerable this fall as his conference of 242 Republicans, including 89 freshmen, look to defend the GOP's control.
"I would say that there is a two-in-three chance that we win control of the House again, but there's a one in three chance that we could lose and I'm being … frank," Boehner warned. "We've got a big challenge, and we've got work to do."
Hoyer, the Democratic Whip, admitted that recent polling is "pretty volatile," and the results depend largely on how pollsters phrase questions. Still, he predicted that President Obama's favorability ratings would benefit his party's prospects for a majority this fall. "Democrats have pretty consistently run ahead of the Republicans over the last 12 months on generic ballots," he said.
Hoyer also said Democrats had been targeting 78 congressional districts that were either won by Obama in 2008 or by both Sen. John Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008, where he said Democrats were running "excellent candidates."
Democrats need a net gain of 25 seats to overcome the House Republican majority.
"We have a very significant number of challengers who have outraised the Republican incumbents," Hoyer said, adding that the House Democratic campaign arm has also outraised its GOP counterpart. "We're going to pick up a lot of seats and I think we'll take back the majority."