I’ve been focused mostly on the House elections, as I still think it’s likely that the Democrats retake the House with a five to ten seat majority, and end up losing two seats in the Senate. And if you’re in the District, here are some thoughts about our local elections. Unlike most posts that are usually about policy or politicking, this one is a little more ‘horserace-ish’ (my reward for phonebanking).
If there is a metaphor to describe the House race, it is like a basketball game where the Democrats are up by eight points with three minutes to go. Republicans could hold the House, but they can’t make mistakes, and they can’t trade baskets. They must hold the seats that should be Republican, and win most of the toss up seats. A few weeks ago, I put together a list of how I thought things looked based on several of the models/predictions that different groups have put together, and here’s how I think things look:
Solid Democratic seats (~95% of these will go Democratic): 192
Likely Democratic seats (~80% of these will go Democratic): 17
Lean Democratic seats (~2/3 of these will go Democratic): 6
Solid Republican seats (~95% of these will go Republican): 141
Likely Republican seats (~80% of these will go Republican): 44
Lean Republican seats (~2/3 of these will go Republican): 20
Toss ups (who knows): 15
Obviously, one can quibble where to put a particular race, and, at some point, any given race could change. But the path for Democrats is much easier, though not a lock. One key thing to remember is that, to use a phrase no Democrat ever wants to hear after the 2016 primary, the West Coast is the firewall. Between Oregon, Washington, and California, Democrats are pretty much guaranteed at least fifty seats, so if Republicans haven’t made significant gains by then, it’s over for them, if Democrats in California do their jobs. Unlike some elections, where West Coasters think its over by the time their races end (due to the time zone differences), the West Coast elections will influence the outcome, so don’t think it’s a done deal despite what you might hear–your vote does matter.
Another thing I noticed putting this together: Democrats are unopposed by Republicans in 39 seats, while the converse is only true for three Republicans. While these were pretty much locked in anyway, Republicans are giving away 36 seats before a single ballot is cast.
One final thing, while I have your attention: the dirty secret of election polling is that polls ~48 hours before voting are usually more accurate, but they are rarely conducted, as they are not useful for campaigns and parties at that point. Right now, I’m not seeing much motion in the generic ballot or Il Trumpe’s numbers, unlike 2016, where Il Trumpe had a last minute surge.
But who knows? So go vote, if you haven’t already.