Dems could retake House if voter anger carries into 2014, polls show

Dylan Stableford
Speaker of the House John Boehner pumps his fist as he emerges from a meeting with Republican House members in the U.S. Capitol in Washington October 16, 2013. U.S. Senate leaders announced a deal on Wednesday to end a political crisis that partially shut down the federal government and brought the world's biggest economy close to a debt default that economists said threatened financial calamity. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Democrats could win "a significant majority" in the House if the voter anger aimed at Republicans over the government shutdown carries into 2014, new surveys commissioned by a progressive group show.

According to Public Policy Polling, which conducted 25 surveys in GOP-held House districts on behalf of, incumbent Republicans now trail generic Democratic candidates in 15 of the 25 districts. The results, combined with two previous surveys, show Democrats leading in 37 of 61 districts polled since the beginning of the government shutdown.

And when voters were informed that the Republican candidates supported the government shutdown, Democrats took the lead in 11 additional districts (and one race became tied).

"This means that our results indicate Democrats have pickup opportunities in an astounding 49 of the 61 districts surveyed," Public Policy Polling's Jim Williams wrote in a memo announcing the findings.

Democrats need to net 17 seats in order to retake the House in 2014.

The poll results are in line with other recent surveys that show most Americans blame the GOP for the 16-day government shutdown, which began after the Republican-controlled House refused to pass legislation to fund government services unless President Barack Obama's health care law was delayed or defunded.

But before Democrats start ordering bulk champagne for November 2014, there are some factors to consider. The midterm elections are more than a year away, and the Public Policy Polling surveys were conducted in the middle of the shutdown debate.

"Moreover," Williams wrote, "generic Democratic candidates are not the same as actual candidates. Democrats must recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in individual districts if they are to capitalize on the vulnerability revealed by these surveys, and they must maintain a significant national advantage over Republicans."