Swing State Pres

Friday, September 28, 2018

BTRTN: A Call to Action from Anita Hill

This piece is written by Kristy Gardner (Tom’s daughter) who is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Amherst College.  She attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference this week in Houston with 15 of her students.  Kristy would like to thank Francine Briggs for graciously sharing her notes from the session with Kristy, thereby allowing Kristy to quote Dr. Hill directly. The photo which includes Kristy (in the middle) was taken by Deb Deppeler.

Anita Hill calls us to act. To any woman who feels that her voice doesn’t matter, Dr. Hill responds: “It does.” To those of us who want to help make our country a better place, Dr. Hill advises us: “Vote.”

Image may contain: 2 people, text
This week I am in Houston attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. In 1994, the first Celebration was held with 500 women in attendance. In 2010, the first year I attended, there were 2,000 women present. This week, 20,000 technical women (and many of our male supporters) came together in Houston to share our experiences, to celebrate our accomplishments and how far we’ve come in increasing the representation of women in technology, and---in the wake of Thursday’s Judiciary Committee hearings---to support each other as we despair at how far we have yet to go.

This morning we heard from Anita Hill, who was invited to speak at the Grace Hopper Celebration long before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, long before Christine Blasey Ford became a household name, and long before we knew that Dr. Hill’s own history was going to repeat itself quite literally as she spoke to us. The title of her session was “The Past, Present, and Future of the #MeToo Movement.” As the week’s events unfolded, preregistration for Dr. Hill’s session filled, then the conference announced a live stream to be broadcast in the Toyota Center, which seats 18,000 and which, I am sure, was full.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, indoorI arrived at the session an hour and a half early to wait in line for a seat, and spent that hour and a half talking with other women about what brought them to this event. Some had vivid memories of Dr. Hill’s testimony 27 years ago. Some expressed immense anxiety at the thought of sharing their own experiences of sexual abuse with close friends and family, let alone with the world, and expressed their tremendous admiration for Dr. Blasey Ford’s courage. Some wondered how to discuss this week’s events with their young daughters. Many were emotional, and there was a palpable sense of relief at being part of a community at this moment in history. All wondered: can’t we do better?

Dr. Hill walked in to a standing ovation, and began by sharing her reaction to Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony. She was struck, as was I, by Dr. Blasey Ford’s poise and calmness at a moment when she was terrified at having to speak about events she did not wish to discuss in a venue where she did not want to be. Dr. Blasey Ford has been criticized by some for not coming forward publically earlier, either in 1982 when she was assaulted or several months ago when President Trump first announced Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. Dr. Hill’s response: “She came when she needed to come.” Dr. Blasey Ford did not come forward because she wanted to be in the public eye. She did not come forward due to political motives. She came forward because she believed---as Anita Hill did 27 years ago---that it was her civic duty to bring the truth to light.

Too often, members of groups that are underrepresented, marginalized, or silenced feel isolated, or they feel that their voices will not be heard if they speak, or that they will not be believed if they are heard, or that nothing will change even if they are believed. But we need these voices. We need to keep pushing back, even when change doesn't come right away. Judge Kavanaugh said during his opening remarks yesterday, “you may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.” Let’s turn those words back on him. We may be defeated in the final vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but we cannot ever quit.

No automatic alt text available.The theme of this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was “We Are Here.” We---the women at this conference---are here in a field in which women have been and continue to be underrepresented, undervalued, and unheard. We are here: women who have faced workplace sexism and harassment are here to say that it is not acceptable and that it must stop. We are here: survivors of sexual assault are here to rally behind Dr. Blasey Ford as she exhibits enormous courage in speaking out on such a public stage. We are here as voters, we are here as activists, we are here and we will not sit back and we will not go away. It is our civic duty.

Dr. Hill closed her remarks this morning with a question for those of us in the audience: “There will be a decision made in the Senate today, and many of us are going to feel disappointed and betrayed. What are you going to do? How are you going to respond? A natural response is to throw up your hands. And maybe move to France. Or Canada. I had a choice to make 27 years ago. I wanted to do nothing more than retreat back to my world and say nasty things about the US Senate. I did say nasty things about the US Senate. But I did not retreat. You do not have a choice about what they do, but you do have a choice about what you do. What are you going to do to make the world a more positive place?”

At the end of the thunderous applause that followed, the woman sitting to my left turned to me and said, “She asked us what we’re going to do. Look at how many people are in this room---what if we each passed on that question to 100 people?”

So I’m passing it on: what are you going to do?

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

BTRTN: Sorry, Trump’s Approval Rating is Not Declining; But Kavanaugh’s is Dropping Like a Stone


Tom sets the record straight on Trump, and updates Kavanaugh’s support levels.


There was much fanfare two weeks ago when CNN announced a new poll it had just completed, which purported to show that Donald Trump’s approval rating was, at long last, declining.  The cable channel was breathless in its reporting of the findings, headlined by a 6-percentage point drop from 42% in an August CNN poll to the 36% reported on September 11.

The cable network attributed Trump’s drop to the incredible string of recent disastrous headline-toppers, including the convictions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, and the publicity surrounding The New York Times anonymous op-ed and excerpts from the soon-to-be-released Bob Woodward book, “Fear.”

The only problem is, the CNN pair of poll results do not conform to other polls.  That’s not to say the CNN poll was “FakeNews” – we have no problem with their polling methodology, but, as happens at times,  their results do not hang with the pack.  The other polls show a distressing consistency in Trump’s approval rating and no material diminishment.

BTRTN’s tracks Trump’s approval rating on a weekly basis, of course.  We only use the four services that do either weekly (Gallup, Reuters/IPSOS and The Economist/You Gov) or daily (Rasmussen) presidential approval polls.  Rasmussen tends to be more favorable to the GOP, Gallup tends the other way, and the other two are in the middle.  For Gallup and Reuters, we use the “All Americans” segment (which leans to the Dems), for Rasmussen “Likely Voters,” and for The Economist “Registered Voters”; the latter two tend to favor the GOP.

We use these four because they give us consistency over time, and the mix of voter pools averages out the various sampling “biases” in their results.   We do not include polls that are done sporadically, like CNN, FOX, the networks, Quinnipiac, etc.  We exclude them for week-over-week purity; because when you include them in the averages in a given week, they tend to pull the overall average in their direction, and then they disappear the next week.  If one is trying to discern trends, it is better to stick with the pollsters who do these polls every week.  It keeps the measure internally consistent week after week.

The chart below compares CNN’s poll with those of the other four during the time frames in question.  Three show no material gain or drop, Reuters shows a -3, and on average the decline was just a point, from 44% to 43% -- a far cry from CNN’s -6, and hardly headline-worthy.

TRUMP WEEKLY APPROVAL RATING

Week Ending

Poll
8/12
9/11
Change
Economist/YouGov
44
44
0
46
47
1
43
40
-3
41
40
-1
BTRTN Average
44
43
-1
42
36
-6

The unfortunate truth is that in 2018 – an incredible year of relentless revelations and controversy, hirings and firings, high hopes (North Korea) and disappointment (North Korea), Donald Trump’s weekly approval rating has remained almost completely unchanged, with a high of 46%, a low of 40%, mostly settling in the 43% range.  It is 43% now, and it has been at 43% for four consecutive weeks, through the tumult described above.  It is fair to say that the only thing stable about the Trump presidency is his approval rating.  The monthly averages, below, including September to date, show an even tighter range.

TRUMP MONTHLY APPROVAL RATING

2018

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Approve
42
43
42
42
45
43
43
43
43
Disapprove
55
54
54
54
52
53
53
53
53
Net
-13
-11
-13
-12
-7
-9
-10
-9
-10

This is not to say that Donald Trump is in good shape.  A 43% approval rating is, frankly, abysmal.  It is correlated with low GOP performance on the “generic ballot,” which has the Democrats ahead as of now by +6 points, which in turn is a wonderful predictor of seat gain/loss in the midterms, particularly in the House.  

Furthermore, it would be incredibly difficult for Trump to get re-elected with such a rating.  And Trump’s dilemma is that he has never hit the 50% mark, and his inclination to play to his conservative base means that his level of approval has a natural ceiling barely above where he is now, and below that 50% level.  That makes for tough sledding.  He is counting on huge turnout from his base to pull him through, yet every measure of “energy” suggests that the Dems are way ahead and the turnout surge will be blue, not red.

As for Kavanaugh, the trendline is quite different.   Like Trump, Kavanaugh never enjoyed full-throated support from the American people; he is Trump’s choice; he is too extreme to the right; his selection, if it occurred, too consequential; and our times are too polarized for him to score well in up/down polling. 

FOX News has been tracking Kavanaugh’s support, and as of mid-August he was at the 50% mark, about what might be expected for a hard-right GOP nominee.  But since the Blasey Ford accusations emerged, he has taken a 10-point hit, down to 40%.


poll_2a

And the verdict favors Blasey Ford on the “believability” question, albeit with many undecided.


poll_2b

This polling was done in the immediate aftermath of the charges surfacing, which occurred on September 14.  (The survey was fielded from September 16 to 19).  Since then, the news cycle has been on hyperdrive and a second accuser has emerged, with a third one promised by Michael Avanatti (today).  It is hard to imagine that Kavanaugh’s support has rebounded in the past week.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

BTRTN: Hey, Republicans! Doing the Right Thing with Kavanaugh is Also the Politically Shrewd Thing

Over time, Steve has discovered that he cannot persuade Republicans to change their minds by using tired old conventional devices like facts and logic. Today, he cleverly appeals directly to their base Machiavellian souls, arguing that in the case of Brett Kavanaugh, doing the right thing may also be the most politically advantageous thing.

A pattern has crept into recent BTRTN columns that may well gall our loyal readers. 

We have -- on a number of occasions—been giving Republican leaders truly excellent advice on how to navigate a number of tricky situations. Perhaps we are willing to risk aiding and abetting the opposition because we are secure in the knowledge that most Republicans would never read a progressive blog, and those who did would be sure ignore the good advice they would find.

Today, however, our motivation is different. We want Republicans to take our advice. Because the current national Hindenburg is a situation in which the most advantageous course of action for Republicans happens to also be the most morally and ethically sound solution. We don’t care if they do the right thing for the wrong reason… we just want to give them a reason to do the right thing.

The topic today is the tenuous status of Brett Kavanaugh as Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court.

With the emergence of a second woman who claims to have been the victim of sexual assault at the hands of the would-be Supreme Court Justice, we have experienced that profound transition from “he said, she said,” to “he said, they said.” That’s different. Republicans can no longer justify breezily dismissing the original allegation as the flawed recollection of a single “confused” individual. With Cosby, Weinstein, Moonves, and even Trump, it was the existence of multiple accusers that forced supporters to rethink their skepticism.

Still, however, Republican voices – starting with the President of the United States – continue to insist that there is no need for any type of investigation, and no need to delay or change the planned day of hearings with the first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, this Thursday.  The Republican powers-that-be continue to give Kavanaugh unqualified support, and many have already announced that they will continue to back him no matter what Dr. Ford has to offer. Senate Majority leader McConnell promised donors that Cavanaugh would soon be a Supreme Court Justice, even using the particularly distasteful and aggressive idiom that he intends to “plow right through” with the confirmation process. 

You can practically hear the chatter on the Republican bridge: “Iceberg at 12:00, Captain!” “Roger that! Set our course for full speed ahead!”

Hey, Republicans, if I promised you that I am about to give you the best possible game plan for managing every single angle of this slow-moving category five shit storm, will you please give it a quick read? Spoiler alert: the best possible super-Machiavellian strategy to achieve all of your cruel and manipulative goals is to do the right thing. But, hey, there’s no need for you to worry about suddenly behaving ethically. You can justify this entire strategy by simply invoking your usual blend of self-interest, misogyny, and disregard for fact. Your choice.

First, let’s identify the sticky wickets that Republicans are trying to navigate in the next three months.

We begin with a simple observation: how you Republicans handle the allegations against Kavanaugh is going to have a significant impact on the mid-term elections. Millions of women are watching closely to see whether you attempt to victim-shame Dr. Ford with the same unfeeling brutality you directed at Anita Hill. Knowing it is a waste of time to seek better angels where none reside, let me rather appeal to your cold practical calculation. With both the House and Senate in play, Kavanaugh is the battle, but not the war.

Next: Trump really wants Kavanaugh to be confirmed, not really because of his conservative bona fides, but because he is a hard-liner on the issue of executive authority. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court is added insulation protecting Trump from needing to answer a subpoena from Mueller. Sure, there are plenty of other conservative judges you could nominate, but Kavanaugh is the one that the Big Stupid Orange needs to park in the ninth chair. 

Given these two realities, the smartest thing that the Republicans could do right now is stop the process cold in its tracks, cancel Thursday’s hearing, and gracefully accede to the chorus of requests that the FBI to open investigations into the two sexual misconduct allegations that have now been aired against Kavanaugh.

Indeed, it would be smart to announce now that the investigations are likely to require two months to complete. This would set expectations that an adequate inquiry would not be completed until after the elections, but still well within the current Congress’s “lame duck” period. Here’s why this approach makes the most sense.

The most important objective that this would accomplish for the Republicans is to take this incendiary issue off the table until the mid-terms are over. 

It does not take a brilliant prognosticator to predict that Thursday is going to be world-class ugly-fest for every single participant.  Dr. Ford clearly understands that she is putting herself in the line of sight of the seasoned character assassins at Fox News and other conservative media outlets who see patriotic labor (and dollar signs) in a no-holds-barred assault on her integrity, character, and resume.

Those Republican Senators (or the outsourced inquisitors they may hire for the role) who grill Dr. Ford about her memory, credibility, motive, and life experiences are certain to be viewed by the me-too sisterhood as just one more fly-me-to-the-Moonves moment in the long history of old white guys forcing their version of the truth on a non-consenting female. 

And then we will hear the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh, who will seek to continue to project an earnest, wholesome, heartland sensibility as he has done throughout the hearings, a sort of Father Knows Best of Constitutional Law.  His denial will be emphatic, soulful, and may even involve an oath invoking the great Christian God almighty. Once that predictable theatre is over, Kavanaugh will be dragged by the committee Democrats through the slime of his entitled, inebriated, feckless preppie upbringing. Questions about the reliability of his memory after tequila shots will be alternated with a parade of “did you evers…” that will leave no stoner unturned. His options are limited: he can deny any serious youthful indiscretion and appear utterly disingenuous, or he can acknowledge a certain amount of irresponsible teenage behavior and watch the Democrats use it to crush the reliability of his memory of periods when under the influence. Hobson offered a better choice. 

By Thursday evening we will all want to compulsively do the laundry, run the dishwasher, floss our teeth, take showers, Swiffer the tv room, and vacuum the den on the desperate hope that we can out the damned spot on our nation’s conscience. 

And then the cable news video loops will begin. Over, and over, and over… for six weeks, until midterm election day.

No, Republicans, you actually don’t want that. 

Continuing to try to ram Kavanaugh through just isn’t worth it. It is not worth watching the generic ballot slide inexorably further toward the Democrats while you stand by your preppie miscreant. 

I get that you don’t want to admit defeat and have him withdraw his name. That would only inflame the crazies in your base who can’t stand any show of weakness. We understand that you can’t afford to alienate a single one of those voters when your party is in peril of losing your grip on Congress. 

Moreover, we all know Trump really wants Kavanaugh. And if you tried to start the entire process all over with a new nominee, it is possible that the entire process of vetting, hearings, and confirmation would not happen until a new -- and possibly Democratic -- Senate convenes in 2019.

So explain your new strategy. Explain that you are stopping the process and asking for an FBI investigation because that is the only way that you can forever clear your fine boy’s reputation. Explain to them you expect that the FBI will find that young Brett was clean as a whistle. Explain to them that if the FBI does indeed exonerate him, you will confirm his appointment in the lame duck session of Congress that will take place from election day until the new Congress is sworn in... when you are certain to still hold your Senate majority. Explain that if the FBI finds no evidence of wrongdoing, it would be extremely hard for Murkowski, Flake, Collins, and even some Democrats to withhold support for Kavanaugh. You will have the votes you need. Donald Trump will get the Supreme Court Justice he wants. 

Admit it: it is a better game plan to get to your goal than the one you are pursuing right now.

And if the FBI finds a problem with Kavanaugh? You have to admit this, too: it’s better that you know that now rather than watch Ronan Farrow impale him on a Harvey Weinstein shish-kabob skewer six months after his appointment. Because if that happened, and Kavanaugh resigns under the threat of impeachment for lying during his testimony, the Democrats – who may control the Senate at that point – would certainly opt for your famous Merrick Garland rope-a-dope and refuse to let Trump appoint anyone until after the 2020 election. Ouch. Say good bye to your dreams of a century of conservative dominance of the Supreme Court .

Admit it, Republicans, where there’s smoke, sooner or later somebody gets fired. And it's time to see the forest fire for the trees.

The second accuser gives you your moment. Don’t squander it. Make the announcement on Wednesday: no hearings, no further testimony, no vote, no nothing until after election day. Put the mess back in the jar until it is no longer toxic to your election hopes.

But, hey, Republicans, my plan gets even better! 

Once you’ve made your big decision, you can market it.

You can go pimp this up and get all pompous and pretend that you are requesting an investigation because you sincerely want to find out the truth. I promise this to all of you old white men on the Senate Judiciary Committee: telling voters that you are actually interested in the truth will suddenly make you all burning hunks of octogenarian man-meat. How can I say this so that you will be motivated to heed my advice? How’s this: chicks will dig it, man. They will think you are really like totes smokin’ hot it if you actually appear to be interested in the truth. You don’t even have to honestly care about finding the truth … just tell yourself that you are just doing it to impress girls. Girls who vote. Does that make it more palatable to you?

Hey, Senate Republicans, listen to me. I don’t care if you do the right thing for all the wrong reasons.

Just do the right thing.

Get the White House to call the  FBI. 

Get the investigation going.

Perhaps we will all learn something.

Best of all, it will help ensure that we never confirm a Supreme Court Justice who we might later learn is as scummy, despicable, and misogynist as, uh… the President of the United States. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

BTRTN Senate and House Mid-Term Snapshot: Split Decision Highly Likely with 46 Days To Go


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

There are 46 days left until the mid-terms.  The tickets are set for every race, and the bell has rung for the traditional Labor Day sprint until November 6.

These have been an enormously consequential last 30 days in American politics, and not a good one for Donald Trump and the GOP.  We have witnessed the Manafort and Cohen convictions, the Bob Woodward book and the anonymous New York Times op-ed, and now the uproar over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination to the Supreme Court.  Each has rocketed some horrific aspect of the Trump presidency – the corruption, dysfunction, the assault on women – to daily headline status.  An already wretched electoral environment for the GOP in the mid-terms has unarguably gotten worse.

And yet, there has been little material change in the prospects for November outcomes.  Since our last “snapshot” a month ago, the headline remains the same:  the Democrats have no more than an outside chance to take over the Senate.  But their odds of taking over the House remain very high – and have risen in the last month -- and continue to be extremely imposing at this point. 

Our proprietary BTRTN models, which calculate the odds of Democratic takeovers of each branch of Congress, peg the likelihood of each as follows:

House
Senate
82%
12%

In the last month, the House odds of a Dem takeover have jumped up from 76% to 82%, while the Senate odds, despite the toxicity around the Trump Administration, have dropped from 16% to 12%.  This reflects, among other factors, roughly 40 new polls in the contested Senate elections.

Remember:  this is just a “snapshot” – what would happen if the elections were held today.  This is not a “forecast” or a “prediction.”  Not yet.

SENATE

We have changed three race ratings in the last month, and none represent a change from one party to the other.  Arizona and Montana appear to be tightening up a bit, while Joe Manchin is solidifying his lead in West Virginia.

BTRTN RATING CHANGES

8/20/18
9/20/18
Arizona
D Lean
D Toss Up
Montana
D Lean
D Toss Up
W. Virginia
D Lean
D Solid

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 able to break partisan ties in the GOP’s favor. 

BTRTN SENATE RACK-UP

8/20/18
9/20/18
DEM TOTAL
50
50
Dem Holdover
23
23
Dem Solid
19
20
Dem Lean
4
1
Dem Toss-up
4
6
GOP Toss-up
2
2
GOP Lean
2
2
GOP Solid
4
4
GOP Holdover
42
42
GOP TOTAL
50
50

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.  Those five races are all basically “toss-ups,” along with Missouri, where we have incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill ahead by a nose (in large part due to the presence of a Libertarian candidate in the race); Indiana, where Joe Donnelley is slightly ahead; and Montana, where Jon Tester maintains a tight lead.

These eight “toss-ups” essentially define the range of possible outcomes. If the Democrats sweep them, they would emerge with a 52-48 majority, a prospect that leaves Mitch McConnell cold with fear.  But if it goes the other way, and the GOP takes them all, the GOP actually would build their razor thin majority to 56-44, which would eliminate the power that moderates Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowsky hold today.  This would be an outright disaster for the Dems.

The odds of a Dem takeover are so low – 12% -- precisely because of the difficulty of winning so many toss-ups.  Odds makers would say that the eight races should split 4-4; flip a coin eight times and that’s the most likely outcome.  That would leave the GOP with a 52-48 majority, +1 seat versus now.  For the Dems to take over they need that coin to come up heads seven out of eight times.

Now this is not exactly like flipping a coin.  There is some possibility of that all races could move one way or the other in unison due to some macro factor that reflects well or poorly on one party.  Peace in North Korea on the one hand, or a movement of Russian troops into a neighboring country on the other.  Regardless of candidate, events like these can move the undecideds as one, or incent die-hards to go to the polls in outrage, or stay home.

In addition to those eight “toss-up” races, there are three more we classify as “leans” (for a total of 11 truly competitive races):  Texas, where Beto O’Rourke is threatening to end Ted Cruz’s political future, and the two special elections in Minnesota and Mississippi.  These races, ultimately, could go either way as well, though the incumbents are all ahead.  And we are watching several other races that, theoretically, could become competitive, including West Virginia and New Jersey. 

Here is the race-by-race rundown.  The 11 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 weeks 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
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
Flanders
D + 30
D + 16

D Solid
DEL
D
Carper
Carper
Arlett
D + 37
D + 11

D Solid
MASS
D
Warren
Warren
Diehl
D + 8
D + 27

D Solid
WASH
D
Cantwell
Cantwell
Hutchison
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 Solid









MN (SP)
D
T. Smith*
T. Smith
Housley
D + 10
D + 2
D + 7
D Lean
IND
D
Donnelley
Donnelley
Braun
D + 6
R + 19
D + 4
D TU
MONT
D
Tester
Tester
Rosendale
D + 4
R + 20
D + 2
D TU
ARIZ
R
Flake (ret.)
Sinema
McSally
R + 4
R + 4
D + 2
D TU
NEV
R
Heller
Rosen
Heller
R + 1
D + 2
D + 2
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
D + 1
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 + 4
R TU
MS (SP)
R
Hyde-Smith*
Espy
Hyde-Smith
R + 22
R + 18
R + 2
R Lean
TEXAS
R
Cruz
O'Rourke
Cruz
R + 17
R + 9
R + 3
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 +5.5%, up +1.0 point from one month ago.  Our BTRTN models, which have been highly predictive in the past, and use the generic ballot as a key variable, indicate a +39 seat gain for the Democrats, which would take them to a 233-202 majority.  Again, we see the overall odds of the Dems taking the House at 82%.

BTRTN HOUSE RACK-UP

8/20/18
9/20/18
DEM TOTAL
230
233
Dem Solid
181
182
Dem Likely
8
8
Dem Lean
10
13
Dem Toss-up
31
30
GOP Toss-up
11
0
GOP Lean
6
23
GOP Likely
26
28
GOP Solid
162
151
GOP TOTAL
205
202

Using an average the eight rating services (Cook, Sabato, CNN, RCP, IE, 538, Politico and Daily Kos), there are 102 competitive races among the total of 435 (in the chart above, the middle six rows).  Of these 102, a whopping 89 of them are held by GOP incumbents (including vacancies previously held by the GOP).  The Democrats only need to flip 23 of them – or, more precisely, net +23, to take control of the House.

Here is a list of those 102 seats, with columns for the incumbent party, the 25 GOP districts that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as our current BTRTN 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 to focus on with your volunteer efforts.

State
Dist.
Incumbent Party
GOP districts won by HRC in '16
BTRTN         Rating as of 9/20/18

102
89 R / 13 D
25

New Jersey
2
R

D Likely
California
7
D

D Likely
New Jersey
5
D

D Likely
Pennsylvania
6
R
HRC
D Likely
Minnesota
7
D

D Likely
Florida
7
D

D Likely
Pennsylvania
8
R

D Likely
Arizona
1
D

D Likely
Nevada
4
D

D Lean
Pennsylvania
17
D

D Lean
Florida
27
R
HRC
D Lean
New Hampshire
1
D

D Lean
Nevada
3
D

D Lean
Virginia
10
R
HRC
D Lean
Arizona
2
R
HRC
D Lean
California
49
R
HRC
D Lean
Iowa
1
R

D Lean
New Jersey
11
R

D Lean
Pennsylvania
7
R
HRC
D Lean
Colorado
6
R
HRC
D Lean
Minnesota
3
R
HRC
D Lean
Michigan
11
R

D TU
Minnesota
2
R

D TU
North Carolina
9
R

D TU
California
25
R
HRC
D TU
Washington
8
R
HRC
D TU
California
48
R
HRC
D TU
Kentucky
6
R

D TU
New York
22
R

D TU
California
10
R
HRC
D TU
California
39
R
HRC
D TU
California
45
R
HRC
D TU
Iowa
3
R

D TU
New Jersey
3
R

D TU
New Jersey
7
R
HRC
D TU
New York
19
R

D TU
Kansas
2
R

D TU
Kansas
3
R
HRC
D TU
Minnesota
1
D

D TU
Minnesota
8
D

D TU
Ohio
1
R

D TU
Texas
7
R
HRC
D TU
Illinois
6
R
HRC
D TU
Michigan
8
R

D TU
Florida
26
R
HRC
D TU
Illinois
12
R

D TU
Maine
2
R

D TU
Virginia
7
R

D TU
Texas
23
R
HRC
D TU
Texas
32
R
HRC
D TU
Virginia
2
R

D TU
West Virginia
3
R

R Lean
Nebraska
2
R

R Lean
New Mexico
2
R

R Lean
Ohio
12
R

R Lean
Pennsylvania
1
D
HRC
R Lean
North Carolina
13
R

R Lean
Washington
5
R

R Lean
Illinois
13
R

R Lean
Utah
4
R

R Lean
Virginia
5
R

R Lean
Wisconsin
1
R

R Lean
Montana
1
R

R Lean
Arkansas
2
R

R Lean
California
50
R

R Lean
Georgia
7
R

R Lean
Illinois
14
R

R Lean
North Carolina
2
R

R Lean
Washington
3
R

R Lean
California
21
R
HRC
R Lean
Florida
16
R

R Lean
Michigan
7
R

R Lean
New York
11
R

R Lean
Georgia
6
R

R Lean
New York
27
R

R Likely
Pennsylvania
10
R

R Likely
Florida
15
R

R Likely
Florida
25
R

R Likely
New York
24
R
HRC
R Likely
Ohio
14
R

R Likely
Pennsylvania
16
R

R Likely
California
4
R

R Likely
Florida
6
R

R Likely
Florida
18
R

R Likely
Michigan
6
R

R Likely
New York
1
R

R Likely
Texas
21
R

R Likely
Wisconsin
6
R

R Likely
Colorado
3
R

R Likely
Indiana
2
R

R Likely
S. Carolina
1
R

R Likely
Texas
31
R

R Likely
Arizona
8
R

R Likely
Alaska
1
R

R Likely
Iowa
4
R

R Likely
Michigan
1
R

R Likely
Arizona
6
R

R Likely
California
22
R

R Likely
Indiana
9
R

R Likely
Ohio
7
R

R Likely
Missouri
2
R

R Likely
North Carolina
8
R

R Likely