As the polls stand today the biggest question of the 2012 election is: (a) what happens in the House of Representatives? And (b) is it possible, after billions of dollars in ads and two years of gridlock in Washington, that everything will essentially be the same?
Without a change in the election, President Obama is poised to win reelection with over 300 Electoral Votes and Democrats appear set to hold a minimum of 53 seats in the Senate, with the potential to raise that number to around 55.
So it is unlikely that there will be changes in the White House or the Senate.
While both Democrats and Republicans will contest these statewide elections with campaign funds and outside money the last issue at hand seems to be who will be the Speaker of the House?
Will November 7 look more like 2008 with Obama, Reid and Pelosi in charge or like 2010 with Obama, Reid and Boehner in charge?
The Battle for the House has been the least covered but may turn out to be the most dramatic, with a hand full of districts determining the balance of power in Washington and the direction of the country.
Wednesday's presidential debate will play a big role in how October plays out politically.
If Mitt Romney is unable to completely reset the debate then Republicans have two choices: focus on the House or play from behind with Romney and the Senate.
There will be a tremendous amount of pressure for outside groups to focus their money on creating a firewall for John Boehner, Eric Cantor and the Tea Party House by the end of the week if Romney is not able to turn the tables Wednesday.
For as much as Democrats have tipped the electoral map in their favor, a concentration of resources by Republicans on the House will be difficult to overcome if, and only if, Republicans quickly abandon Romney and expensive Senate seats.
Should it be too politically difficult for Republicans to cut and run to a defensive position on the House then the last few weeks will likely see a House that is up for grabs. At that point any money advantage will be wiped out by the fact that there is so little time left on the clock.
Both parties will be able to go toe-to-toe in House districts for two or three weeks.
While the influence of outside groups is different, this election is shaping up in a way similar to the 1996 Clinton reelection where the outcome of the Presidential race and Senate control were pretty clear in early October.
Ultimately, Democrats were able to gain seats in the House but were not able to come close to winning it in 1996.
Given the Democratic losses in 2010 that allowed Republicans to control the redistricting process in a number of crucial states, it will be difficult for Democrats to win the House unless there is a big landslide for President Obama.
But the fact is right now Democrats have a stronger map for the House than Romney has for the White House. That is presenting a lot of difficult questions for Republican campaign committees, Rightwing outside groups and mega donors like Sheldon Adelson who have spent a lot of money on Republicans this election cycle.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.
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