The Democrats should be happy. They're likely to gain seats rather than lose them as the Republicans are. But it's not about gaining a few or losing a few this year, it's always about having that crucial majority.
As if they forgot the power of the filibuster that worked reasonably well for them the past few years, the addition of 14 Democratic seats in the House would still be one short of victory, and oh how they worry...
Tom Baldwin in the UK Times captures the Democrats' stress over this election, now just a week away:
At the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters, Karin Johanson, the executive director, has taken up smoking again, but with only eight days to go before polling day she says that there is scant time for indulging the habit. Speaking to The Times as she pored over the latest numbers from swing seats, Ms Johanson said: “Some of the polls are looking great — really great — but some of the recent ones have been looking not so good.” The Democrats were “swimming upstream”, she said, against long-term disadvantages...Both parties are exclaiming extreme confidence, but really, both sides are worried. I think the Republicans should be stressing more than the Democrats, but they aren't. Then again, I'm not really stressing over the possibility of a Democratic takeover either.
“The Republicans have convinced everyone, not least themselves, that the reason they did so well in 2004 was because of their turnout operation,” she said. “They think they’re smarter than us, and, the truth is, some of us think they’re smarter than us.”
The Democrats need 15 net gains to regain control of the 435-member House for the first time since 1994. They can count on perhaps a dozen, but others are too close to call and the residual power of incumbency may be critical.