Enthusiasm for progressive candidates just spiked in red America


Polling and election forecasting experts show numerous House seats that were once solidly red are now in play — all over the country.

House Republicans may have managed to hold onto Arizona's 8th Congressional District — just barely — but on Thursday they were hit with a deluge of warning signs suggesting many other red districts they once thought safe bets for them no longer are.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a series of results from 12 GOP congressional districts around the country, 11 of which were deemed "likely Republican" or "lean Republican" by the Cook Political Report and one of which was rated "tossup." Not only are all of them competitive, with most races within single digits, in 11 of them the Democratic challenger is ahead with voters who report being "very excited" to vote.

Republican incumbents lagging among enthusiastic voters include French Hill of Arkansas' 2nd District, Mike Bost of Illinois' 12th District, Rodney Davis of Illinois' 13th District, Randy Hultgren of Illinois' 14th District, Mike Bishop of Michigan's 8th District, Robert Pittenger of North Carolina's 9th District, Ted Budd of North Carolina's 13th District, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey's 3rd District, Steve Chabot of Ohio's 1st District, Scott Taylor of Virginia's 2nd District, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington's 5th District.

Most of these Republicans won their most recent election by double digits, and some of them are integral to House GOP leadership and policy. Rep. MacArthur, for example, was instrumental in writing the House plan to repeal Obamacare's protections for preexisting conditions, which didn't pass. And Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the chair of the House Republican Conference, the only woman to hold a leadership position in the caucus.

The PPP results further suggest that, in most of these districts, voters are either tepid about or outright oppose the tax cut bill Republicans rammed through at the end of last year. It's the latest in a series of ominous signs that the tax cuts, once believed by the GOP to be the only shot at preserving their House majority, will instead doom it.

Furthermore, a majority or plurality of voters in every district said they had "major concerns" about both taxes and health care.

PPP's results come just as the Center for Politics forecast shifted 13 Republican House districts' ratings toward Democrats — many of which had previously been rated "safe Republican."

Center For Politics

Among the shifted forecasts include Rep. Devin Nunes of California, who has drawn outrage over his partisan abuse of the Intelligence Committee; Dan Donovan of New York, who is struggling to fend off a primary challenge from a convicted felon; Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who recently made the news for brandishing a gun while meeting constituents; and Cathy McMorris Rodgers herself.

Much of the focus on the battle for the House has gone to Republicans in places like Pennsylvania and California. But these numbers suggest that the battlefield stretches deeper into red territory than Democrats could have dared hope.

This fall, the GOP will have to defend themselves everywhere.