Boehner: GOP majority still an 'uphill climb'

House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerClinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report Boehner on Cruz: 'Lucifer is back' MORE (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.

BoehnerJohn BoehnerClinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report Boehner on Cruz: 'Lucifer is back' MORE 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.

"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.

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