Boehner: GOP majority still an 'uphill climb'

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Republicans still face an "uphill climb" to take back the House, even as his party took its widest-ever lead in a key poll.

Boehner sought on Monday to manage expectations that his party would take the 39 seats necessary in November's midterm elections to win back the House, a victory that would likely make him Speaker.

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"We've got real opportunity," Boehner said during an appearance on the conservative Sean Hannity radio show.

The top House Republican cautioned, though, that winning back the House is not a foregone conclusion.

Boehner's continued measured optimism comes against a backdrop in which indicators are increasingly pointing toward the prospect of significant GOP victories this fall.

On Monday, a Gallup poll showed Republicans with an "unprecedented" 10-point advantage in its latest survey testing a generic congressional ballot; in a summary, Gallup suggested the potential for a "major 'wave' election'" in which the GOP takes back the House.

Fifty-one percent of registered voters said they would vote for a Republican if the election were held today, versus 41 percent who would elect a Democrat. This marked the largest lead of the election cycle, and the largest since Gallup began tracking the generic ballot in 1942.

Republicans enjoyed five-point advantages in similar polls in the run-up to the 1994 elections, when the GOP seized the majority, and 2002, when the party made significant gains.

Boehner — who in April said he believed there is no seat the GOP cannot win during this election cycle — was somewhat cautious about the polls, saying that "all the polls don't win elections."

"Only voters who vote lose elections," he said.

But he noted the so-called enthusiasm gap in favor of GOP voters. Gallup found that Republicans hold a 25-point advantage over Democrats on that score, and a 22-point advantage over independents.

"I can tell you that the American people want change, and they want it now," Boehner said.

The Gallup poll, conducted Aug. 23-29, has a 4 percent margin of error.