They will be lucky if they retain control of the Senate, never mind retaking the House which isn’t even a remote possibility.

Washington (CNN) – The second ranking House Democrat predicted his party was in good position to retake control of the House of Representatives in the 2014 midterm election.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer pointed to a fundraising advantage for Democrats, lower poll numbers for congressional Republicans, divisions inside the GOP ranks, and a good recruiting class of Democratic challengers, and said “all of those combined in my view give me great optimism that we’re going to win back the House.”

Democrats need to pick up 17 seats to regain the majority in the House, and most political handicappers say that with the narrow list of competitive congressional districts the odds are long that they can reach that goal.

In a session with reporters inside his Capitol Hill office on Monday, Hoyer noted that he made a similar prediction in 2006 that House Democrats would win control – one that many dismissed at the time – but he was proven right on election night that year.

Update: The timing of this could not be any better (or worse if you’re Steny Hoyer).

Via WaPo:

As House Republicans continue to stymie President Obama’s second-term agenda — most recently, when House Speaker John Boehner stated immigration reform was likely a non-starter— Democrats are pushing hard to take back the House. Last week, news that Democratic candidates had out-raised Republican candidates in the most competitive districts fueled speculation of a possible Democratic takeover.

Such a takeover remains unlikely, however. Our House forecasting model currently gives the Democrats about a one percent chance of winning a House majority in 2014. To understand why, it is worth exploring the nature of the “midterm penalty” for the president’s party — what it is, why it exists, and what it means in 2014. Ironically, one of the biggest obstacles to a Democratic takeover is their success at holding the White House in 2012.