Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) admitted Monday that the 17 seats his party needs to win the House are likely out of reach, but that several races could still break for Democrats with an unsettled electorate.

"Here's what I'm seeing in daily polls — unlike 2010, we have a very turbulent environment," Israel said in an interview on MSNBC.

The average loss for a president's party in a second midterm is 29 seats, Israel noted. "Even Ronald Reagan, at the height of his popularity, he lost five seats," Israel added. In 2010, Democrats lost 63 seats, and many party strategists this cycle expect that number could climb into the double digits and erase the eight-seat gain they made in 2012.


Still, Israel said there are 20 House districts that could go "either way" on Tuesday. Democrats would need to net 17 seats to win control of the House.

"Will we take the House? Probably not. But when you still have 20 districts fighting to the end, I think it's going to be a long night and an interesting night," he added.

Republicans have broadly worked to make this year's midterms a referendum on Obama's six years in office, tying Democratic candidates to the unpopular president in ads focused on issues such ObamaCare, energy and national security. The head of the DCCC, the fundraising arm for House Democrats, has said that it "depends on the district" whether Obama is on the ballot this year.

Asked Monday about a recent poll that shows Republicans are slightly favored to do a better job changing Washington, Israel scoffed. "Oh, they've changed Washington, all right. They've changed it so much that they've tried to shut it down last October," he said.

Israel pointed to a "perfect storm" of outside spending by "right-wing, secret, stealth super-PACs" and the underlying belief that Democrats protect the middle class while Republicans protect special interests for why races remain competitive.

This post was updated at 12:25 p.m.