Just the Facts

Five Facts on Final Hour Midterm Predictions

By No Labels
November 5, 2018 | Blog

Midterm elections are tomorrow. Here is what the experts are saying is most likely to happen:

The Republican party currently has a majority in both the House and the Senate

Republican’s first took hold of the House in 2010 when a wave election, spurred by strong public opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), helped the party swing an impressive 64 seats, once again putting the GOP in the majority with 242 members. Democrats were able to hold on to the Senate for four more years before they lost their majority in the 2014 midterms, losing nine seats and giving the Republicans a 54-44 advantage.  While the Democratic Party has been able to gain ground in the elections since, they have been unable to take back the majority in either chamber as Republicans currently have a 241-194 majority in the House and a 51-47 majority in the Senate.

FiveThirtyEight, a statistical analysis website, gives Democrats an 85.3% chance of winning the majority in the House of Representatives

As of November 5, the FiveThirtyEight model predicted that Democrats would flip 36 House seats, giving the party a majority of 231-204.  Overall, the model gives Democrats an 80% chance of winning 20 to 53 seats, a 10% chance of gaining fewer than 20 seats, and a 10% chance of gaining more than 53 seats.  While it gives Republicans a 14.7% chance of keeping control of the House it gives the party less than a 0.1% chance of gaining a single seat.

Several “toss-up” races will play key roles in determining which party controls the House

If Democrats want to retake the House, and Republicans want to hold it, they will need to win several hotly contested races that will likely come down to the wire.  One of these marquee matchups is taking place in Virginia, where two-term GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock is facing former state Sen. Jennifer Wexton. Hillary Clinton won this district by 10 points in 2016 and recent polls have shown Wexton with a comfortable lead. In Pennsylvania, Problem Solvers Caucus member and Republican lawmaker Brian Fitzpatrick is trying to defend his seat from businessman Scott Wallace. Fitzpatrick’s district went to Hillary Clinton by just two points and recent polls have shown both men with small leads. While these races are only a small piece of the puzzle for both Democrats and Republicans they both represent districts that, if won by either party, would be a major boost to that party’s chances of being in the majority on November 7.

FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans an 84.4% chance of maintaining their majority in the Senate

As of November 5 the model is predicting that the most likely outcome in the Senate, with 18.1% probability, is maintenance of the status quo with Republicans holding 51 seats and Democrats occupying 49.  However, Republican chances of increasing their majority have been trending upwards in recent weeks and the model now predicts that the second most likely outcome, with 17.4% probability, is a one seat pick-up for Republicans, which would bring them to a 52-48 majority.  While the third most likely outcome, with 14.9% probability, is a one seat pick-up for Democrats, Republicans would still be able to maintain their majority as Vice President Mike Pence would act as the tiebreaking vote in a 50-50 Senate. In order to take the majority, Democrats will need to pick up at least two seats in the Senate, an outcome that FiveThirtyEight gives a 15.6% chance.

Control of the Senate is likely going to come down to five or six close races

These races are all rated toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election analysis outlet. A toss-up race means that either party has a good chance of winning the race. Currently, Republicans are positioned well to beat incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, as her opponent, Kevin Cramer, has consistently polled well ahead of Sen. Heitkamp for several weeks. Additionally, several Democrats in states won by President Trump are in extremely close races in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Montana.  While it is unlikely that all of these races break the same way, if Republicans are able to flip all of them, they could jump out to a six-seat majority. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats best chance of gaining ground is in Nevada, where incumbent Dean Heller is neck and neck with Democratic Representative Jacky Rosen, and in Arizona, where Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Martha McSally (R), are also in a dead heat.

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