One night before the President’s State of the Union address, the New York Times is giving him a pass on the final three years of his presidency by conceding that the House of Representatives is likely to remain in Republican control.
The article "2014 Elections Likely to Keep Capital's Split," suggests that not only will Republicans keep the House, but could end up taking back the Senate as well:
With the 2014 political landscape becoming more defined, it is increasingly likely that the midterm elections in November will maintain divided government in the capital for the final two years of President Obama’s second term, with the chief unknown being exactly how divided it will be.
A review of competitive congressional contests suggests that, at the moment, Republicans will hold on to the House, though Democrats could defy midterm history and gain a few seats. Senate Democrats, at the same time, are defending unfavorable terrain and will almost certainly see their majority narrowed. They are at risk of losing it altogether, an outcome that would leave Capitol Hill entirely in Republican control for the conclusion of Mr. Obama’s presidency.
“Democrats are going to lose seats, there is no question about that,” said Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
The Times cast the presumed loss of seats in the Democrat controlled Senate as an eventuality produced not by dissatisfaction by a populous over ineffective or unpopular policies, but by simple statistical regression to the mean:
After performing better than expected in 2012, Senate Democrats will be hard-pressed to repeat their success. They are defending seven seats in states won by the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Seats in three of them — Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia — are open because of retiring lawmakers, and incumbents seeking re-election in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina are in for a defining political fight.