Monday, August 20, 2018

BTRTN Senate and House Mid-Term Snapshot: Still a Split Decision

Tom with BTRTN’s latest on the race for control of Congress.

The headline of our latest mid-term “snapshot” is that the basic dynamic remains the same:  the Democrats have an excellent chance to take over the House in November, and an outside chance to do the same in the Senate.

We have new proprietary BTRTN models that calculate the odds of the Democrats taking over each branch of Congress.  These odds will be updated frequently and sit atop our “right hand column” (as you can see).  If Election Day were today – and it is important to note this is not a prediction, just a snapshot of where things stand -- here are the latest odds of the Democrats taking over the House and the Senate in the 2018 mid-terms.

House
Senate
76%
16%

SENATE

The outlook for the Dems in the Senate has changed only marginally since our last update roughly a month ago.   We have changed only two race ratings, both due to more recent polling, and they offset.

BTRTN RATING CHANGES

7/14/18
8/20/18
Florida
D Toss Up
R Toss Up
Indiana
R Toss Up
D Toss Up

Despite the low odds, if Election Day were today, the Dems would actually pick up a seat, bringing the Senate to the tightest of possible splits, 50/50, with Vice President Mike Pence thus playing a very active role in the proceedings, breaking partisan ties in the GOP’s favor.  And if John McCain continues to be absent, this would put the GOP in the unusual position of being the majority party with minority representation.

We have the Democrats flipping three seats as of now: Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee.   But the GOP would hold on to the “majority” by flipping two of their own:  Florida and North Dakota.

Why are the Dems’ takeover odds so low – at 16% - if the current snapshot has them only one seat away?  Essentially, it’s because there are so many “toss-up” races -- six of them polling within the margin of error -- and we have the Dems a nose ahead in four of them.  To have them sweep so many close races – and they would need one more – would be quite a task.  The Dems are already doing well to be competitive in Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi, which would have been unthinkable six months ago. And those 16% odds would be less than 1% if Alabama was still in GOP hands (thank Roy Moore for that).

Of course, it’s still very early and, in addition to those six “toss-up” races, there are six more we classify as “leans” (for a total of 12 truly competitive races).  We are nearing the end of primary season, and thus the fields are almost set.  But we have whole campaigns to run, “macro” shocks to consider, Donald Trump to contend with, money to raise, ground games to execute – eighty days and counting.

But as of now, here is the race-by-race rundown.  The 12 races that we consider to be truly competitive are in the middle of the chart, between the two purple lines.  Of course, these designations could change in the coming months and more (or fewer) races might be deemed “competitive.”

SENATE SNAPSHOT
State
Inc. Party
Incumbent
Democrat
GOP
2012 Margin
2016  Pres Margin
Recent Polls Avg
BTRTN Rating
CAL
D
Feinstein
Feinstein
de Leon (D)
D + 24
D + 30

D Solid
VER
I
Sanders
Sanders
Paige or Zupan
D + 46
D + 26

 D/I Solid
NY
D
Gillebrand
Gillebrand
Farley
D + 45
D + 23

D Solid
HAW
D
Hirono
Hirono
Curtis
D + 26
D + 32

D Solid
MARY
D
Cardin
Cardin
Campbell
D + 28
D + 26

D Solid
RI
D
Whitehouse
Whitehouse

D + 30
D + 16

D Solid
DEL
D
Carper
Carper

D + 37
D + 11

D Solid
MASS
D
Warren
Warren

D + 8
D + 27

D Solid
WASH
D
Cantwell
Cantwell

D + 20
D + 16

D Solid
NJ
D
Menendez
Menendez
Hugin
D + 18
D + 14

D Solid
MN
D
Klobuchar
Klobuchar
Newberger
D + 34
D + 2

D Solid
CONN
D
Murphy
Murphy
Corey
D + 12
D + 14

D Solid
MAINE
I
King
King (I)
Ringelstein (D), Brakey (R)
D + 22
D + 3

 I Solid (D)
MICH
D
Stabenow
Stabenow
James
D + 21
R + 0.2

D Solid
NMEX
D
Heinrich
Heinrich
Rich
D + 6
D + 8

D Solid
VA
D
Kaine
Kaine
Stewart
D + 6
D + 5

D Solid
PA
D
Casey
Casey
Barletta
D + 9
R + 1

D Solid
WISC
D
Baldwin
Baldwin
Vukmir
D + 5
R + 1

D Solid
OHIO
D
Brown
Brown
Renacci
D + 5
R + 8

D Solid









WV
D
Manchin
Manchin
Morrisey
D + 25
R + 42
D + 12
D Lean
MN (SP)
D
T. Smith*
T. Smith
Housley
D + 10
D + 2
D + 9
D Lean
MONT
D
Tester
Tester
Rosendale
D + 4
R + 20
D + 8
D Lean
ARIZ
R
Flake (ret.)
Sinema
McSally
R + 4
R + 4
D + 4
D Lean
IND
D
Donnelley
Donnelley
Braun
D + 6
R + 19
D + 5
D TU
NEV
R
Heller
Rosen
Heller
R + 1
D + 2
D + 1
D TU
TENN
R
Corker (ret.)
Bredesen
Blackburn
R + 35
R + 26
D + 1
D TU
MO
D
McCaskill
McCaskill
Hawley
D + 16
R + 19
Even
D TU
FLA
D
Nelson
Nelson
Scott
D + 13
R + 1
R + 2
R TU
NDAK
D
Heitkamp
Heitkamp
Cramer
D + 1
R + 36
R + 5
R TU
TEXAS
R
Cruz
O'Rourke
Cruz
R + 17
R + 9
R + 6
R Lean
MS (SP)
R
Hyde-Smith*
Espy
Hyde-Smith
R + 22
R + 18
R + 2
R Lean









MS
R
Wicker
Baria
Wicker
R + 17
R + 18

R Solid
NEB
R
Fischer
Raybould
Fischer
R + 16
R + 25

R Solid
UTAH
R
Hatch (ret.)
Wilson
Romney
R + 35
R + 18

R Solid
WYO
R
Barrasso
Trauner
Barrasso
R + 54
R + 46

R Solid
* Tina Smith replaced Al Franken, who resigned in 2018
** Cindy Hyde-Smith replaced Cochran, who resigned in 2018
  

HOUSE

The Democrats continue to be in strong shape.  The latest generic ballot – the single biggest predictor of House seat gains and losses – continues to show a commanding Democratic lead, at +4.5%.  Our BTRTN models, which have been highly predictive in the past, and use the generic ballot as a key variable, indicate a +37 seat gain for the Democrats, and a 76% chance of taking over the House, by a 230-205 margin.

Using an average the six rating services (Cook, Sabato, CNN, RCP, IE and Daily Kos), we find that there are 92 competitive races among the total of 435.  Of these 92, 80 of them are held by GOP incumbents (including two vacancies that were held by Republicans).  The Democrats only need to flip 23 of them – or, more precisely, net a +23 out of the 92, to take control of the House.

Here is a list of those 92 seats, which, as noted, split 80/12 for the GOP.  We’ve also noted the 25 GOP districts that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as our current BTRTN race ratings, which are ranked from most likely to be won by the Democrats to the least likely.  You can use this chart to determine which districts you can focus on with your volunteer efforts.

(And finally, a shout out to Ed Case, a fellow Williams College graduate, who just won the Democratic primary for Hawaii’s 1st District.  Ed represented that district from 2002-2007, and should easily win the general election in November to return to the seat.)

State
Dist.
Incumbent Party
GOP districts won by HRC in '16
BTRTN        Number Rating as of 8/18/18
194 D - 236 R
92
80 R / D 12
25

New Jersey
2
R

D Likely
Pennsylvania
5
Vacant
HRC
D Likely
California
7
D

D Likely
New Jersey
5
D

D Likely
Pennsylvania
6
R
HRC
D Likely
Minnesota
7
D

D Likely
Pennsylvania
8
R

D Likely
Florida
7
D

D Likely
Arizona
1
D

D Lean
Nevada
4
D

D Lean
Florida
27
R
HRC
D Lean
Nevada
3
D

D Lean
New Hampshire
1
D

D Lean
Virginia
10
R
HRC
D Lean
Arizona
2
R
HRC
D Lean
New Jersey
11
R

D Lean
California
49
R
HRC
D Lean
Pennsylvania
7
R
HRC
D Lean
Pennsylvania
17
D

D TU
Michigan
11
R

D TU
California
39
R
HRC
D TU
Iowa
1
R

D TU
Minnesota
1
D

D TU
Minnesota
2
R

D TU
Minnesota
8
D

D TU
Washington
8
R
HRC
D TU
Kentucky
6
R

D TU
Texas
23
R
HRC
D TU
California
10
R
HRC
D TU
California
25
R
HRC
D TU
California
48
R
HRC
D TU
Colorado
6
R
HRC
D TU
Florida
26
R
HRC
D TU
New Jersey
7
R
HRC
D TU
New York
19
R

D TU
New York
22
R

D TU
Illinois
12
R

D TU
Iowa
3
R

D TU
Kansas
2
R

D TU
Minnesota
3
R
HRC
D TU
Virginia
7
R

D TU
Illinois
6
R
HRC
D TU
North Carolina
9
R

D TU
Texas
7
R
HRC
D TU
California
45
R
HRC
D TU
Kansas
3
R
HRC
D TU
Michigan
8
R

D TU
Texas
32
R
HRC
D TU
Pennsylvania
1
D
HRC
D TU
Maine
2
R

R Lean
Wisconsin
1
R

R Lean
Ohio
12
R

R Lean
New Mexico
2
R

R Lean
Ohio
1
R

R Lean
Utah
4
R

R Lean
Virginia
2
R

R Lean
Washington
5
R

R Lean
West Virginia
3
R

R Lean
Nebraska
2
R

R Lean
Arkansas
2
R

R Lean
North Carolina
13
R

R Lean
Montana
1
R

R Lean
New Jersey
3
R

R Lean
New York
11
R

R Lean
Virginia
5
R

R Lean
Georgia
6
R

R Lean
Florida
16
R

R Likely
Illinois
13
R

R Likely
Illinois
14
R

R Likely
California
21
R
HRC
R Likely
Michigan
7
R

R Likely
New York
1
R

R Likely
Pennsylvania
10
R

R Likely
Washington
3
R

R Likely
Florida
18
R

R Likely
Georgia
7
R

R Likely
New York
24
R
HRC
R Likely
Pennsylvania
16
R

R Likely
Texas
21
R

R Likely
California
4
R

R Likely
Florida
15
R

R Likely
Florida
25
R

R Likely
Indiana
2
R

R Likely
Michigan
6
R

R Likely
Ohio
14
R

R Likely
Wisconsin
6
R

R Likely
California
50
R

R Likely
Florida
6
R

R Likely
Michigan
1
R

R Likely
North Carolina
2
R

R Likely
S. Carolina
1
R

R Likely
Texas
31
R

R Likely