The Hill's House ratings: Democrats' chances for seats have dimmed

House Democrats' prospects have dimmed even further as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's improvement in the polls has trickled down the ballot.

Democrats, who long had talked of netting the 25 seats needed to take back control, are now unlikely to pick up 10 and may even end up losing seats on Tuesday.


In our final House ratings update, The Hill projects that Democrats will most likely pick up between three and six seats this election, down from our previous estimate. Redistricting shackled Democratic hopes early on, they struggled with recruitment in a number of districts, and Republicans have effectively neutralized their Medicare attacks in many contests.

In a neutral election environment, there are simply more Republican-leaning districts than Democratic-leaning ones because of redistricting and legally required majority-minority districts. That means Democrats will usually have an uphill battle to a majority this decade — and Republicans have made sure not to give them many openings this cycle.

Here are our updated ratings:

CA-24 Rep. Lois Capps (D): Move from Lean Democratic to Toss-up
This tossup district is significantly more Republican than Capps is used to and her opponent, former Lieutenant Gov. Abel Maldonado (R), has run a strong race after a slow start. Both sides are spending heavily in the district. Capps still probably holds the edge but this will be a close race.

CA-36 Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R): Move from Lean Republican to Toss-up
Bono Mack has long run ahead of her party in her slightly Democratic-leaning district but it was reworked to include new territory — and is no longer in the expensive Los Angeles media market, making her a cheaper target. Democrats have been spending heavily there, and Republicans have recently jumped in to help shore her up. They've been hitting her opponent hard for participating in a 1999 protest against two convicted murderers, but it's unclear whether that will be enough.

FL-22 Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelFlorida Rep. Alcee Hastings dies at 84 Bill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill How Congress dismissed women's empowerment MORE (D): Move from Lean Democratic to Toss-up
Two recent independent polls showed Republican Adam Hasner gaining on or tied with Rep. Lois Frankel, and he's managed to pace the incumbent in fundraising. Though the district is significantly Democratic-leaning, Hasner's run a strong campaign based on a bipartisan plea and could topple Frankel in the final days.

FL-10 Rep. Dan Webster (R): Move from Lean Republican to Toss-up
Democrat Val Demings gained on Rep. Dan Webster (R) in a recent Democratic poll, trailing him by only 2 percentage points. That's closer than an early-October poll of the race, and seems to indicate that Democratic attacks on what they've characterized as Webster's misuse of taxpayer funds could be taking hold of the freshman incumbent.

IL-10 Rep. Robert Dold (R): Move from Lean Democratic to Toss-up
This is the most Democratic district held by a Republican but the freshman Dold is running one of the best races in the country and while his opponent has a good profile for the district his campaign has failed to wow operatives. Dold is still facing heavy headwinds but can't be counted out.

IN-2  OPEN (D): Move from Likely Republican to Lean Republican
Outside groups on both sides are spending late in this district, and Rep. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEverybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big MORE's (D-Ind.) surprisingly strong Senate run may help his party keep his old seat despite its Republican lean.

NV-4 NEW: Move from Likely Democratic to Toss-up
Republican and non-partisan polling shows the Democratic-leaning seat leaning a bit toward the GOP, and both sides have been spending heavily there in recent weeks.

NJ-3 Rep. Jon Runyan (R): Move from Lean Republican to Likely Republican
Rep. John Runyan doesn't look to be going anywhere, as Democrat Shelly Adler has been unable to mount a strong challenge on the incumbent. Already facing an uphill battle due to redistricting, which cut Adler's hometown out of the district, Adler lagged Runyan by 10 points in an early-October independent poll— and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hasn't spent there in weeks.

NY-1 Rep. Tim BishopTimothy (Tim) Howard BishopOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Dem candidate 'struck by the parallels' between Trump's rise and Hitler's Dems separated by 29 votes in NY House primary MORE (D): Move from lean Dem to toss-up
Republican Randy Altschuler only lost to Rep. Tim Bishop by slightly fewer than 600 votes in 2010, and this time around, attacks on Bishop's constituent service record may be enough to tip the race in his favor. Republicans have spent millions highlighting what they say was Bishop inappropriately asking for campaign donations after helping a constituent, a claim that Bishop refutes. Two Republican polls have shown Altschuler ahead, indicating that a win is at least uncertain for Bishop.

NY-11 Rep. Michael Grimm (R): Move from Lean Republican to Likely Republican
If investigations into possible illegal campaign fundraising activities haven't yet downed Rep. Michael Grimm, they're not likely to do so in the final week of the campaign. A recent independent poll put him ahead of Democrat Mark Murphy by nearly 20 percentage points, and his strong response to Hurricane Sandy, which devastated part of his district, can only help him on Election Day.

NH-1 Rep. Frank Guinta (R): Move from lean Democratic to Toss-up
Though Republican Rep. Frank Guinta hasn't been the strongest candidate, Democrat Carol Shea-Porter also hasn't launched the toughest challenge against him — and recent polling shows her lagging the incumbent by 7 percentage points, just a week from Election Day. He trounced her with a 12-point advantage in 2010, and though his margin's unlikely to be that large this year, there's no clear evidence yet that Shea-Porter will be able to come out on top the second time around.

NH-2 Rep. Charlie Bass (R): Move from Toss-up to Lean Democratic
Rep. Charlie Bass (R) was considered one of the GOP's most vulnerable incumbents from the start, having defeated Democratic challenger Ann Kuster in 2010— during a Republican wave year — by only a few thousand votes. A new independent poll puts her ahead by 6 percentage points, and him at 41 percent support — an uncomfortable place for even the strongest of incumbents.

RI-1 Rep. David Cicilline (D): Move from Lean Democratic to Toss-up
Democrats had appeared to be coming home to Cicilline, whose personal popularity is low in the district, but a recent poll showed a tight race, and both committees are now spending heavily in the strongly Democratic district.

More detailed House ratings are below. Ratings for the Senate are available on The Hill’s Ballot Box blog under the Race Rating category.

The Hill's 2012 Race Ratings: House

Likely Democratic Lean Democratic Toss-up Lean Republican Likely Republican
CA-16: Costa (D) AZ-2: Barber AZ-1: OPEN (Gosar)CA-21: NEW AR-1: Crawford (R)
CA-47: NEW CA-3: Garamendi (D)AZ-9: NEW CO-3: Tipton (R)AR-4: OPEN (Ross)
FL-9: NEW CA-9: McNerney (D) CA-7: Lungren (R) FL-13: Young (R)FL-2: Southerland (R)
FL-26: Rivera (R) CA-41: NEW CA-10: Denham (R) IA-4: King (R)FL-16: Buchanan (R)
IA-1: Braley (D) CT-5: OPEN (Murphy) CA-24: Capps (D)IN-2: OPEN (Donnelly)MI-6: Upton (R)
IL-8: Walsh (R)IA-2: Loebsack (D)CA-26: OPEN (Gallegly)IN-8: Bucshon (R)MI-11: OPEN (McCotter)
ME-2: Michaud (D)IL-11: Biggert (R)CA-36: Bono Mack (R)MA-6: Tierney (D)MN-2: Kline (R)
MN-7: Peterson (D)IL-17: Schilling (R)CA-52: Bilbray (R)MN-6: Bachmann (R)MT-AL: OPEN (Rehberg)
NJ-9: Pascrell (D)MD-6: Bartlett (R)CO-6: Coffman (R) OH-6: Johnson (R)NC-8: Kissell (D)
NM-1: OPEN (Heinrich)NH-2: Bass (R)FL-10: Webster (R)OK-2: OPEN (Boren)NC-11: OPEN (Shuler)
NY-25: Slaughter (D)NY-21: Owens (D)FL-18: West (R)PA-8: Fitzpatrick (R)NC-13: OPEN (Miller)
OH-9: Kaptur (D)WA-1: OPEN (Inslee)FL-22: OPEN (West)TN-4: DesJarlais (R)ND-AL: OPEN (Berg)
OR-5: Schrader (D) GA-12: Barrow (D)TX:-14: OPEN (Paul)NE-2: Terry (R)
TX-34: NEW IA-3: Boswell (D) / Latham (R)VA-2: Rigell (R)NJ-3: Runyan (R)
WA-10: NEW IL-10: Dold (R)
NJ-5: Garrett (R)
WV-3: Rahall (D) IL-12: OPEN (Costello)
NY-11: Grimm (R)
  IL-13: OPEN (Johnson) NY-22: Hanna (R)
   KY-6: Chandler (D) OH-7: Gibbs (R)
MI-1: Benishek (R)  PA-11: Barletta (R)
   MN-8: Cravaack (R)
PA-15: Dent (R)
    NC-7: McIntyre (D)
PA-18: Murphy (R)
    NH-1: Guinta (R)   PA-6: Gerlach (R)
    NV-3: Heck (R)   PA-7: Meehan (R)
    NV-4: NEW   TX-10: McCaul (R)
    NY-1: Bishop (D)   WA-3: Hererra Beutler (R)
    NY-18: Hayworth (R)   WI-8: Ribble (R)
    NY-19: Gibson (R)    
    NY-24: Buerkle (R)    
    NY-27: Hochul (D)    
    OH-12: Renacci (R) / Sutton (D)    
    PA-12: Critz (D)    
    RI-1: Cicilline (D)    
    TX-23: Canseco (R)    
    UT-4: Matheson (D)    
    WI-7: Duffy (R)    
*Bold indicates a seat projected to switch parties