Dem group touts polls showing eight House Republicans in trouble

House Majority PAC, a Democratic -affiliated super-PAC, is touting polls in eight districts that show Republicans there are vulnerable.

The list: GOP Reps. Steve King (Iowa) Joe Walsh (Ill.), Dan Benishek (Mich.), Jim Renacci (Ohio), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Bob Gibbs (Ohio), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).

Democrats will need to win most of these districts next fall to have a shot at winning the majority.

King, Walsh, Bartlett and Tipton have been put on shaky ground by redistricting. The three Ohio congressmen have been given a fair amount of new territory as well by a map designed to maximize Republican representation in the state.

The polls were conducted by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

Here's the full rundown:

  • King holds a lead in his northwest Iowa district but can't rest easy. A narrow majority of voters in his new district think King should not be reelected: 48 percent say yes while 52 percent say no. The conservative bomb-thrower was put in a district that still leans Republican but is much less conservative than his old one, and Democrats landed a top recruit with former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. King leads Vilsack in the poll 49 percent to 43 percent.
  • Walsh is struggling badly in his suburban Chicago district: 57 percent of voters don't believe he deserves to be reelected, while 32 percent think he should be. Walsh's tossup district was greatly altered to make it Democratic-leaning in redistricting, and he faces an ongoing trial with his ex-wife over $100,000 in child support he has allegedly refused to pay. There are two strong Democrats running against him: Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi. This poll is the latest indication that Walsh is a dead man running.
  • Benishek's numbers are underwater in his northern Michigan district: Only 40 percent of voters there want him reelected with 60 percent saying they don't. He trails 2010 opponent Gary McDowell by 46 percent to 41 percent.
  • Renacci is tied with Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) in the district at 46 percent apiece. The district leans a bit Republican, and he represents more of it. But if the numbers are correct, this will be a dogfight. His approval numbers are underwater as well, with 38 percent disapproving and only 31 percent approving of him.
  • Gibbs's approval rating is 34 percent and he trails a generic Democrat in the race 43 percent to 42 percent. If Democrats can field a strong candidate here they could have a good shot at beating him.
  • Johnson holds a 1-point lead over former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), who is running against him once again in a blue-collar southeastern Ohio district.
  • Bartlett has decided to run for reelection despite his advanced age and Democrats making him a redistricting target. He is tied with an unnamed Democratic candidate in the district, which now stretches from western Maryland to Washington suburbs. But he runs ahead of Republicans generally: While he and the congressional GOP both have 39 percent approval in the district, his disapproval is only 44 percent while theirs is 52 percent. The centrist Republican will have to show he can shake off the rust and run a strong campaign to introduce himself to new voters to hold on here.
  • Tipton leads state Rep. Sal Pace 46 percent to 39 percent, but his numbers are soft: 39 percent of voters say he should be reelected, while 54 percent say he should be replaced. His new suburban Denver district is a tossup, and Democrats are bullish that once Pace gets his name out, he'll be a formidable candidate.

The polls were conducted from Jan. 18-23 and had margins of error ranging from plus or minus 3.1 percentage points to plus or minus 4.4 points, depending on the district.