Friday, October 26, 2018

BTRTN Midterms Snapshot: The GOP’s Odds of Keeping the House are Rising – From Nearly Hopeless to Merely Terrible

Tom with the latest BTRTN midterms Snapshot, with helpful links.

There is a narrative you have been hearing like a rising drumbeat over the past week, and it can be summarized from the opening sentence of an Associated Press article yesterday:

“In the closing stretch of the 2018 campaign, the question is no longer the size of the Democratic wave. It’s whether there will be a wave at all.”

This theme is likely afoot for several reasons:  1) it’s an excellent media storyline, injecting some excitement by casting doubt on the likely outcome; 2) it offers an opportunity for journalists (and pollsters and poll aggregators) to cover their behinds so as not to commit another fiasco as in 2016; and 3) it is a motivator (for partisan Dems) to ensure that there is no complacency, to guard against squandering that massive Dem "enthusiasm" down the stretch.

The facts themselves do not really support such a dire view of the state of play.  As of this “snapshot” – if the election were held today – the BTRTN odds of the Democrats winning the House and the Senate are as follows:

House
Senate
81%
7%

Yes, the odds of a Dem House takeover were in the 90% range last week, so the GOP has made some modest progress.  But, as of now, it remains exceedingly likely that the Democrats will take the House.  It also remains true that there is little chance that the Dems will take the Senate. 

Now much can indeed happen in these final 10 days until Election Day.  Donald Trump is campaigning furiously, lying at a confounding rate as he seeks to drive the GOP base into a voting frenzy.  A migrant caravan 1,000 miles away has wandered into the election mayhem, mythologized into an ISIS-infested brigade.  A massive tax cut for the middle class is supposedly working its way through Congress, even though Congress is not in session and no member has heard of it.  Pipe bombs are showing up in the mailboxes of the leading liberal lights, including two former Presidents.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped nearly 2,000 points, or 7%, in the last 22 days.  These matters, and other “surprises” ahead, could certainly change the landscape considerably.

For now, we will stick to the facts, as we know them this instant.  Today we will focus on the House, with a complete Senate update coming next week.  But first we will say a few brief words about the state of the Senate races to give some perspective to those 7% odds of Dem Senate control.

The Dems currently hold 49 Senate seats, and need 51 seats to have a majority and hand the Leader gavel to Chuck Schumer.  As of now, you can count 44 of those 51 seats pretty easily – 23 that are not up for election, and 21 races that are “Solid” for the Dems.  That math means they need to win seven other races to reach the magic 51 seats.  But only eight races are still in play, so they need to win seven of those eight.  Those eight include four seats they currently hold, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and Florida (which they appear to be leading by very slim margins) and four that the GOP holds, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee or Texas, all races in which the Dems are arguably trailing.  It would take a miracle to win seven of those eight races.

And with that, on to the House.

THE HOUSE

We are now marrying our “top down” BTRTN proprietary regression model, which predicts the number of seats that will change hands based largely on the highly predictive generic ballot, with race-by-race polling and other factors.

And at this juncture, we see the Dems picking up +38 seats when all is said and done.  Our rating chart is as follows:
 
BTRTN HOUSE RACK-UP

10/9/2018
10/26/2018
DEM TOTAL
241
232
Dem Solid
181
185
Dem Likely
9
17
Dem Lean
16
2
Dem Toss-up
35
28
GOP Toss-up
1
6
GOP Lean
11
9
GOP Likely
28
26
GOP Solid
154
162
GOP TOTAL
194
203

The GOP has indeed made up some ground in the last month, as the generic ballot – the single biggest predictor of House outcomes – has narrowed a bit, from a Democratic lead of +8 points over the GOP to +6.5.  And the race-by-race polling, sketchy as it is, confirms a slightly closer overall race.  But the Democrats remain in control, not only with the generic ballot edge, but also in fundraising and enthusiasm (despite GOP progress on the latter two measures).

While the GOP has some minor degree of momentum, with Election Day so close, it is difficult to see them overtaking the Dems and somehow holding onto the House.

The race will hinge on those 34 races that are considered “toss ups” at this point.  The Democrats, assuming they win all of the “Solid,” “Likely” and “Lean” races (that get them to 204 seats) need to win only 14 of those 34 races to reach the magic 218.  By our analysis – as of today – they are marginally ahead in most of them and would pick up +38 seats overall, a Trump repudiation by any standard and worthy of a “wave” designation.  Such a GOP loss would be in the same neighborhood, roughly, as that experienced by most recent first-term presidents in their mid-terms, including Reagan in 1982 (-26), Clinton in 1994 (-54) and Obama in 2010 (-63).  (Both Bush 41 and 43 managed to avoid such a fate due to surges in their personal popularity in the aftermath of the Gulf War and 9/11, respectively).

The chart below summarizes each of the 88 races “in play” – 77 of which are held by GOP incumbents right now, which certainly underlines how much they have to lose.  The chart includes our current BTRTN ratings (that link to the chart above), which races represent “flips” if the trends hold, plus a call to action.  We found a list of links to Democratic candidates who are seeking out-of-state volunteers to do phone banking and other remote efforts, and have merged that list with ours below.  Those opportunities are not available in every race, but there are many who are eagerly requesting such help.  Pick a race where you see a link, follow the link and get involved! 

No one should be complacent about the Dems’ lead right now.  The enthusiasm will only work if it translates into turnout.   Get at it, now!  Only 10 days to go!

BTRTN 2018 HOUSE ELECTION SCORECARD
State/   Dist.
Inc. Part
BTRTN Rating 10/26
Flip
Link to Activity/Information (mostly phone banking) that can be done remotely
Current: 194 D - 236 R
77 R    vs. 11 D



ALAS 1
R
R Likely


AZ 1
D
D Likely


AZ 2
R
D Likely
+ D

AZ 8
R
R Likely


ARK 2
R
R Likely


CAL 4
R
R Likely


CAL 7
D
D Likely


CAL 10
R
D TU
+ D
CAL 21
R
R Likely


CAL 25
R
D TU
+ D
CAL 39
R
D TU
+ D

CAL 45
R
D TU
+ D

CAL 48
R
D TU
+ D
CAL 49
R
D Likely
+ D
CAL 50
R
R Likely


COL 3
R
R Likely





COL 6
R
D Likely
+ D




FL 6
R
R Likely


FL 7
D
D Likely

FL 15
R
D TU
+ D

FL 16
R
R Likely





FL 18
R
R Likely


FL 25
R
R Likely





FL 26
R
D TU
+ D

FL 27
R
D TU
+ D

GA 6
R
R Lean

GA 7
R
R Lean


ILL 6
R
D TU
+ D

ILL 12
R
R Lean


ILL 13
R
R Likely

ILL 14
R
R Lean

IOWA 1
R
D Likely
+ D
IOWA 3
R
D TU
+ D

KS 2
R
D TU
+ D
KS 3
R
D Lean
+ D
KY 6
R
D TU
+ D
ME 2
R
D TU
+ D

MCH 6
R
R Likely


MCH 7
R
R Likely





MCH 8
R
R TU

MCH 11
R
D TU
+ D

MIN 1
D
D TU





MIN 2
R
D Likely
+ D
MIN 3
R
D Likely
+ D
MIN 7
D
D Likely


MIN 8
D
R Lean
+ R

MON 1
R
R Likely


NE 2
R
R Likely


NE 2
R
R Likely


NEV 3
D
D Lean

NEV 4
D
D Likely

NH 1
D
D Likely


NJ 3
R
D TU
+ D








NJ 7
R
D TU
+ D

NJ 11
R
D Likely
+ D
NM 2
R
R TU

NY 1
R
R Likely


NY 11
R
R Likely

NY 19
R
D TU
+ D
NY 22
R
D TU
+ D
NY 24
R
R Likely

NY 27
R
D TU
+ D

NC 2
R
D TU
+ D

NC 9
R
D TU
+ D
NC 13
R
R TU

OH 1
R
R Lean





OH 12
R
R Lean


OH 14
R
R Likely


PA 1
D
D TU


PA 7
R
D Likely
+ D

PA 8
R
D Likely
+ D

PA 10
R
R TU

PA 16
R
R Likely

PA 17
D
D Likely

TX 7
R
D TU
+ D

TX 21
R
R Likely


TX 23
R
R Likely

TX 32
R
R TU


UT 4
R
D TU
+ D

VA 2
R
R TU


VA 5
R
D TU
+ D
VA 7
R
D TU
+ D

VA 10
R
D Likely
+ D
WA 3
R
R Likely


WA 5
R
R Likely


WA 8
R
D TU
+ D
WV 3
R
R Lean


WIS 1
R
R Lean



2 comments:

  1. I like the snapshot, but am concerned about the shift in momentum. And its not like control didn't require winning "toss-ups" which could easily swing either way if some adverse news breaks or if new, more current polling shows the momentum has continued to shift away from Dems. To some extent trends are as important as the snapshot, because polls can be a "lagging indicator". But, if we get out to vote, we can do it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, I agree, the snapshots are meant to be "as of this moment." The point is...don't panic...but do the work, to GOTV! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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