Nancy Pelosi predicts Democrats would take back House if election were held today

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defends the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, who’s been under attack from presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

J. Scott Applewhite, AP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi predicted Tuesday that Democrats could retake control of the House if the election were held today.

The California Democrat made that prediction on a House Democratic Caucus members-only conference call, a Democratic aide told CBS News. It was organized by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

While she was optimistic about Democrats’ prospects now, the aide said Pelosi noted that the election, of course, is not today and emphasized that they must keep the mobilization and fundraising going.

Some members who dialed in to the call said there have been local reports about positive turns in races in their areas. The aide described the conference call as “very upbeat.”

During the call, Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, chairman of the DCCC, noted an NBC/WSJ poll that came out a day earlier that showed Democrats with an advantage on the question of congressional preference. The survey found Democrats have a 7-percentage-point lead -- 49 percent to 42 percent -- on the generic ballot. That’s the Democrats’ biggest advantage since the same question was posed in Oct. 2013, amid the 16-day government shutdown.

The House Democrats’ conference call comes a day after Speaker Paul Ryan held one with their Republican counterparts. It also comes amid the fallout following the leak of a 2005 video showing Donald Trump making lewd comments about women.

On the House Republicans’ call Monday, Ryan told his GOP members that he would no longer defend Donald Trump and he won’t campaign with him, focusing instead over the next 30 days on keeping the House majority.

“You all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” Ryan told his members, according to a readout provided by a Republican source.

Ryan did not, however, say that he was rescinding his endorsement of Trump.

Pelosi made a similar prediction about the Democrats’ chances of winning back the majority in June, according to a report by The Washington Post. At the time, she said if the election were held today, “We would win. We would pick up more than the 20, we could get to the 30. But it’s not today.”

However, in September, she had seemed less optimistic about the prospect of taking back the House majority. “Either we’ll be a single digit ahead or they’ll be a single digit ahead,” she said in an interview in mid-September on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “But we’ll make tremendous inroads in terms of the number of Democrats in the House.”

Democrats last controlled the House in 2010, but Republicans retook the majority during that year’s midterm elections.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.