The Forecast: The fundamentals of the midterms elections haven't changed

House forecast: Democrats will win 225 seats (and t...

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 12:12 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 12:12 PM

House forecast: Democrats will win 225 seats (and the House majority) while Republicans will win just 210 seats. A Democratic win of 202 seats and 262 seats is within the margin of error.

Senate forecast: Republicans will hold 52 seats (and maintain control of the Senate) next Congress while Democrats will hold just 48. Anything between Republicans holding 48 seats and 56 seats is within the margin of error.

Donald Trump

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Midterm elections

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

US Congress

US Democratic Party

US Federal elections

US House elections

US House of Representatives

US political parties

US Republican Party

US Senate

Voters and voting

We're just five days until the midterm elections, and if you've noticed, our forecast hasn't really changed. Democrats are still favored to take back the House, while Republicans are still in control in the fight for the Senate.

The lack of movement may bore some people, but there's a relatively easy explanation for it: the fundamentals remain the same. That is, the forces driving this midterm aren't shifting.

1. The generic congressional ballot: There's perhaps no better indicator of the national political environment than this measure, which usually asks voters which party they want to vote for in congressional elections. Democrats held a 7-point advantage six months ago. Three months ago, it was also a 7-point lead for the Democrats. Now? They're up about 8 points.

This 8-point edge is one of the largest ever for a minority party heading into a midterm election. It's consistent with Democrats doing well enough to take back the House (and perhaps by a sizable margin). It's not, however, big enough for Democrats to overcome the bad Senate map, one in which they already control 26 seats and need to takeover or hold onto seats that are in deep red territory.

2. The President's approval rating: If there's one person who drives midterm elections more than any other, it's the President. The relationship isn't perfect, but when he's popular his party manages to hold the traditional seat losses associated with the President's party to a minimum. When his approval rating is below 50%, his party loses on average more than 35 seats in the House.

President Donald Trump has remained consistently well below that 50% threshold. His approval rating six months ago was 41%. Three months ago, it was 41%. Today, it stands at 42%. You don't need a statistician to tell you that isn't very good. The only president who had an approval rating this low heading into a midterm whose party still controlled the House after the election was Harry Truman in 1950. Even in that midterm though, his party still lost 29 seats. This year that would be enough to flip the House to the Democrats.

The good news for Republicans is Trump's approval rating is higher in the red states that will determine control of the Senate. His approval rating in Tennessee, for example, stands at 56%.

3. Enthusiasm: The Republican Party's best hope in this midterm was to overcome bad fundamentals with strong voter turnout. You might remember that Democrats suffered in 2010 and 2014 because of low voter turnout. It doesn't seem that Republicans will get their wish.

There's basically no difference between the average pollster's results among all registered voters and those seen as likely to vote in the midterm elections. This has been consistent throughout this year. Back in April, the ABC News/Washington Post found an equal percentage of voters who leaned Democratic and those who leaned Republican who said they were certain they were going to vote. This past month, the two sides were equal again.

The lack of difference between the registered and likely voter results isn't a big surprise. In midterms past, Democratic turnout tends to come close to equaling Republican turnout with a Republican president. That's very different from when there's a Democratic president, which 2010 and 2014 showed to the Democrats dismay.

One note of caution: Just because the polling hasn't changed this year, it doesn't mean it's predictive of the outcome. The polling consistently put Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump, and she didn't win. The chance such an error occurs again for the Republicans is unlikely.

For now, the fundamentals remain on the Democrats' side.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2729595

Reported Deaths: 57534
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings35008110971
Queens32689410411
Suffolk2554533688
Nassau2261353332
Bronx2133646806
New York1767984665
Westchester1481672356
Erie1248032050
Monroe976581253
Richmond928091973
Orange62183944
Onondaga59393818
Rockland55509783
Dutchess37964510
Albany34399413
Oneida33196643
Niagara28724419
Broome28212434
Saratoga24658225
Schenectady19328245
Ulster19063291
Rensselaer17411193
Chautauqua14985195
Oswego14170135
Putnam13145101
Chemung12834175
St. Lawrence12815143
Steuben12484190
Ontario11683119
Jefferson11388106
Wayne10251103
Cattaraugus9983157
Cayuga9729113
Sullivan958890
Genesee8633144
Herkimer8312143
Clinton809948
Fulton7854115
Tompkins741461
Madison7365109
Warren730096
Livingston722176
Montgomery7191162
Washington668580
Tioga634473
Cortland609489
Allegany5988122
Columbia5693113
Chenango554795
Orleans549496
Franklin541526
Otsego537063
Wyoming530266
Greene493189
Delaware439951
Lewis420340
Seneca324567
Essex298438
Schoharie268124
Yates198534
Schuyler193320
Hamilton5133
Unassigned1432
Out of NY0339
Utica
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 31°
Oneonta
Mostly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 29°
Herkimer
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 31°
Old Forge
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
2022 WKTV Golf Card only $99.99
Game Day Deals - New Deals Each Week
Stuff the Bus Locations
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve