Do Democrats have a chance at control of Congress?

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": One day to go, fresh signs that Democrats' hope of retaking the House is, well, maybe not as such a sure thing as maybe the White House, or what they think will be a sure thing for the White House.

Right now, Democrats would need 25 seats to win back that body. And the polls indicate that at best they might get five.

Chris Van Hollen is the top-ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

Good to have you, Congressman.

REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-MD.: Good to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: What do you think of those polls? They could be wrong, but they show, best-case scenario, you pick up five seats, maybe six, seven, but you're not going to take the House.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Neil, we are not giving up on the goal of taking the House.

As you know, we have got 30 hours to go. And we will know the answer to this question. We have got a lot of great candidates all over the country, including in California. So we're going to be watching this right to the end.

But whether it is for the White House or the Senate seats or the House seats, the main thing is everybody who wants to participate in this great democracy of ours should get out to vote.

CAVUTO: Do you worry, though, that the polls are very tight? The president still might win it, hard to say, but did you in your heart of hearts ever think you would be in a predicament where the president would be fighting to the last minute for every last vote, that this thing -- again, unless the polls are completely wrong -- is tight, tight, tight, tight, tight?

VAN HOLLEN: Oh, I think it is very tight. I think it is tight.

I think the president clearly has an edge, especially in the battleground states. Look, as you know, Neil, you have been reporting on this for a long time. We're are in a very tough economy. So the question for the American people is, what has the president done? And I think all fair-minded people recognize that we were in a world of hurt the day he was sworn in.

The economy was collapsing. We have come a long way. But the president would be the first to say we have got a long way to go. So the question is, who do you trust to continue to move the economy forward? Do you trust the president to build on the progress we made, or do you want to go back to policies that we know, that we know were not successful during the earlier years?

CAVUTO: I guess that depends on whether people do see that progress.


CAVUTO: But I want to raise this with you, participation and the number of early votes, absentee ballots in states like Ohio, Karl Rove and others have commented on the fact that while it's impressive, it is down substantially from four years ago, Republican participate up substantially in early voting from four years ago. That is just in that state.

Ditto what is going on in Florida, and Illinois, and Michigan, where we're seeing much more enthusiasm on the Republican side than we did. Now, that might not be enough to squeak out a victory for them, but it has got to be raising some sweat in Pennsylvania Avenue, does it not?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, there are a number of polls, Neil, that have come out in the last 48 hours that shows the so-called enthusiasm gap has essentially disappeared, that Democrats are very motivated to get out to vote.

You are seeing that in the early vote statistics. It's true Republicans are seeing a big early vote, but Democrats are seeing an even bigger early vote in states like Ohio.


CAVUTO: Yes. But I guess what I'm saying, sir, is it's down substantially, about 240,000 fewer early voters on the Democratic side than four years ago.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, again, the issue is the relative advantage that the Democrats have on the early vote over Republicans.

CAVUTO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: But, look, all these issues that we are talking about right now...


CAVUTO: You're right, all conjecture.

VAN HOLLEN: We are going to know the answers in 30 hours from now.

CAVUTO: You're right.


CAVUTO: You have been very kind.

Let me just ask you about the other side of the aisle there in the Senate. Republicans hope to take the Senate. I think their chances are better than you guys winning back the House. They need four seats to do it. Anyone's guess whether they will get it. Most calls say they will come close, but not close enough.

But if they do, they are in a good position, if Romney is elected, to dismantle the health care law. Do you worry about that?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, sure I worry about that.

I mean, if Republicans were to run the table and they were going to try and jam that through the Congress in terms of a certain procedure, then that would be something to worry about.


CAVUTO: Well, they say they would just be returning the favor. They say you jammed this down their throat.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, you know what? The reality is that that is not going to happen, as you know.

The likelihood of the Republicans running the tables is very small. All the polls suggest at the end that the president has an edge in the battleground states and that the Democrats will retake the Senate. As I said, we are going to keep fighting in the House to the last vote.

But then, as you were talking with Eric Cantor, the question of course is, what comes next...

CAVUTO: Right.

VAN HOLLEN: ... in dealing with the fiscal cliff?

And the president has been very clear that he thinks we should take a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. We should ask for shared responsibility. I think we should ask the very highest income earners to contribute a little bit more to reduce the deficit.

CAVUTO: So, you don't think they are already paying through the nose?

VAN HOLLEN: I don't -- look, I think when you have a situation where you have the deficits that we have, and we know from the Bill Clinton period that you can ask the highest income earners to pay a little bit more, both reduce the deficit and have a strong economy, that that is the way we should head, asking for a little more shared responsibility.

And that is what the president has asked for.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very much. Thanks for taking the time.

VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: I know you have been going days now without sleep. Best of luck, Chris Van Hollen, one of the more powerful Democrats in the House of Representatives. All right.

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