October House Overview: GOP Risk Factors

… Given the GOP-tilted nature of the congressional map and the dynamics of midterm turnout, we have always maintained that House Republicans would need to engage in some spectacularly self-destructive behavior in order for Democrats to have any shot at netting 17 seats and a majority next November.

Over the 16-day course of the government shutdown, House Republicans flirted with just that. Republicans’ detour into what some have described as a defund-at-all-costs “cul de sac” has turned a negative spotlight on the party to an extent no Democratic ad could ever achieve. …

The GOP’s brand has been awful for years, and sustained more damage this month. Yet the biggest boost for House Democrats isn’t the downturn in the GOP’s brand (NBC News/Wall Street Journal surveys showed negative views of the Republican Party surging from 44 percent in September to 53 percent in October). It’s that the shutdown forced voters to actually focus on the House GOP as “the problem” in DC, something Democrats simply could not do amid the noise of the 2012 presidential election. [cont.]

David Wasserman, Cook Political Report