GOP strategist: House Dems would need 7-point popular vote win to retake House

Republicans retained control of the House in 2012 despite losing the two-party popular vote largely because of redistricting: They were in control of many more states and drew maps that helped them win a disproportionate number of seats in many swing states and protect incumbents in others. That gave them control of 54 percent of House seats even though they won just 49.4 percent of the two-party House vote.

Essentially, because the GOP wave of 2010 helped them win a number of statehouses and allowed them to draw the redistricting lines for this decade, they'll enjoy a lasting advantage in House control. According to the memo, that advantage is equivalent to a 7-point edge.

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That number also helps explain House Republicans' hard line against compromise with President Obama: Few are in danger of losing their seats in the general election even if Democrats are winning more votes nationwide.

As McInturff points out in the memo, titled "There's no crying in redistricting," that's a reversal of historic trends: In the 1970s and 1980s, Democrats controlled more statehouses, got to draw redistricting maps, and engineered lasting majorities even when the GOP was winning national elections.

"If you began your career as a Republican trying to win the House in the 1970s and 1980s, you would adopt, as I do, the borrowed adage 'there’s no crying in redistricting,' " he writes. "I do not recall a series of commentators weeping then about the huge structural advantage the Democrats had drawn for themselves, and having missed that opportunity, now is not the time for lamentation."