Obama’s Tiny Coattails?

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 14 2011 @ 1:44pm

Glen Bolger and Jim Hobart compile evidence that the GOP will retain control of the House:

[E]ven presidents who easily win reelection do not have long coattails. Look at the last three reelected presidents–Reagan in 1984, Clinton in 1996 and Bush in 2004. Two were blowouts and one was close. In 1984, the GOP won 16 House seats. In 1996, the Dems picked up nine House seats. In the two blowout reelections, the president’s party picked up an average of just 12.5 seats. In the close election of 2004, Republicans won three seats. Across the three elections, the average pickup for the president is 9.3 seats. Obama is not likely to win a blowout reelection. Given Obama’s problems with white working class voters and the unifying effect he has on the GOP base, he is much more likely headed for either a close win or a loss, rather than a big win.

Alan I. Abramowitz counters:

What we can say, at this point, is that if Barack Obama wins a decisive victory over his Republican challenger in the presidential election, Democrats have a realistic chance of regaining control of the House. That is because even after redistricting Republicans will be defending a large number of seats in districts that were carried by President Obama in 2008, the 2012 electorate is likely to look much more like the 2008 electorate than like the 2010 electorate and straight-ticket voting is now much more prevalent than it was 30 or 40 years ago.