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GOP’s secret fear: House majority is in trouble

If you listened closely last week, you heard the unmistakable sound of the air of certainty seeping out of a bubble of conventional wisdom. For months -- in some cases, years -- political junkies have held the notion that the GOP's House majority was semi-permanent as an article of faith. Times change.

After the elections in November, the GOP's hold on the House was almost universally thought to be unshakable, at least in the coming midterms, possibly through the end of the decade. Republicans had used the huge gains they made in 2010 to redraw the congressional map in a way that made their majority immune from referendum. Democrats won the popular vote for the House by over a million ballots in 2012 and didn't come close to recapturing it. The economy could soar, Republicans could spiral out of control, and the Democrats would still have a hard time winning back the House before the next census in 2020.

Nothing's changed about the map in the past 10 months, and the country's as polarized as ever. But suddenly Republicans aren't so confident that their majority is all that durable. Or to put it less charitably, the party worries it's so rudderless and unpopular that it might blow what everyone believed to be a rigged game much sooner than expected.

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