Saturday, November 3, 2018

BTRTN Final Midterms Snapshot: The 50 Races That Will Define America

Tom identifies the critical races across the country.

This will be our final BTRTN midterms’ “snapshot” before we are back Monday night with our race-by-race predictions.

There are 50 races that will define America for at least the next two years, races that will be decided well into the wee hours on election night, and possibly for days after.   We have listed them at the end of this article.  Regardless of your political persuasion, if you have a dollar to give, a minute to make a call, or an hour to canvass a neighborhood, these are the 50 races that you should be targeting.  If the Democrats win most of those races, they will win the House, keep the Senate close, and hold the majority of state houses across the land.  More importantly, they will have succeeded in exploding the Trump myth that he can win any election he puts his mind to, send him a clear signal that he is extremely vulnerable in 2020, put a stop to Trump-inspired legislation -- and kick-start a slew of subpoena-stoked House investigations.

If today were Election Day, the point estimate would look like this, with the Dems taking the House handily, picking up a slew of state houses, and holding serve in the Senate. 

House
Senate
Governors
% chance D takeover
76%
8%
n/a
D/R Split
230/205
49/51
26/24
Dem gain
D + 36
No change
D + 10

We have them winning, as of now, 34 of the 50 races we have highlighted, which comprise:

·        Thirty-three “toss-up” races in the House; the Dems need to win a mere 11 of them to seize control, and as of this moment – which could change by the time we make our final predictions on Monday night – we have the Democrats ahead in 23 of them; thus the odds of a Dem house takeover are very high, at 76%, as of now

·        Six “toss-up” races in the Senate, plus Texas and Tennessee, which are leaning to the GOP as of now, but last minute cash and canvassing could still turn them into all-nighters; winning one of them may represent the only pathway to the Dems’ long-shot chances of taking the Senate

·        Nine “toss-up” gubernatorial races; if the Democrats win six of them, they will pick up an amazing 10 state houses and achieve a nationwide majority


BTRTN FINAL SNAPSHOT: 11/2/2018
HOUSE

SENATE

GOVERNOR
DEM TOTAL
230

DEM TOTAL
49

DEM TOTAL
26
Dem Solid
185

Dem Holdover
23

Dem Holdover
7
Dem Likely
17

Dem Solid
21

Dem Solid
7
Dem Lean
5

Dem Lean
0

Dem Lean
6
Dem Toss-up
23

Dem Toss-up
5

Dem Toss-up
6
GOP Toss-up
10

GOP Toss-up
1

GOP Toss-up
3
GOP Lean
9

GOP Lean
2

GOP Lean
3
GOP Likely
24

GOP Solid
6

GOP Solid
11
GOP Solid
162

GOP Holdover
42

GOP Holdover
7
GOP TOTAL
205

GOP TOTAL
51

GOP TOTAL
24

We will keep our analysis brief so we (and, hopefully, you) can get back on those phones!

THE HOUSE

The GOP has more or less given up on the House.  The Democrats held a nearly 2:1 spending margin heading into the final week of the campaign; voter “enthusiasm” continues to favor the Dems; and the biggest weapon of all, Donald Trump, was nowhere to be found on the campaign trail in competitive House districts.  Trump’s final week itinerary included Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Montana, Georgia, Tennessee – all states with close Senate and/or Governor races, but only a smattering of key House races.

Having said that, there are an awful lot of close races out there, enough to give the GOP a slim hope, a 1 in 4 shot by our models.  At this juncture, we see the Dems picking up in the neighborhood of +36 seats when all is said and done.

This would amount to a Trump repudiation by any standard and worthy of a “wave” designation.  Such a GOP loss would be in line with that experienced by most recent first-term presidents in their midterms, 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 SENATE

While the Dems’ odds of taking the House are impressive, the situation in the Senate is quite the reverse.  The Dems need to pull off a political miracle that would outstrip Trump’s triumph in 2016.  By our calculations, they have a less than a 10% chance of taking the Senate, roughly the same odds the Dodgers faced last week when they trailed the Red Sox by three games to one in the World Series.  And we know how that turned out.

Once Democrat Doug Jones beat Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election last December, the Dems had one path to winning the Senate:  holding all of their seats (including 10 in states Donald Trump carried in 2016) and picking off the only two GOP seats that were seen as truly vulnerable, Arizona and Nevada.

That plan might have had a chance of working out had it not been for North Dakota.  Incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s vote against Brett Kavanaugh may been courageous, but it also may have cost her her seat.  And given that North Dakota now seems out of reach, the Dems still need to defend their other seats and now would have to take one in Texas or Tennessee.   But in both of those races, the GOP is stubbornly holding on to a 6-7 point lead.

So keep an eye on the eight toss-up races, noting that the Dems need to win seven of those eight to take back the Senate.  Those eight include four seats they currently hold, Indiana, Missouri, Montana and Florida and four that the GOP holds, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas.  It would take a miracle to win seven of those eight races.  Our mode outcome is 49 seats for the Dems, and the 90% range is 47 to 50. 

But even if winning is difficult, minimizing the losses is crucial – every seat matters. The Democrats would do well to maintain their current complement of 49 seats.  That margin makes life very difficult for the GOP.  Losing the House gives the GOP only one area of total influence, that of confirming judges (the House has no role in that process), and a one-seat margin is certainly too thin for comfort.  Even with the death of John McCain and the retirements of Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, there are still cats to herd in the GOP, notably the omnipresent moderates Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, plus perhaps Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who routinely threatens to leave the GOP.  This is why Trump is campaigning in Senate tossup states – he wants the breathing room that netting 1-2 more seats would give him in pushing those judges through.


GUBERNATORIAL RACES

The races for state house control are overall looking very positive for the Dems, with the likely range being a pickup of +4 to + 13 governorships, with the mode at +10.  The +10 would give the Dems 26 governors, more than half, to the GOP’s 24.  And thus when the 2020 census is taken, the Democrats will be far better positioned to win the ensuing redistricting wars and come out ahead on gerrymandering.   Watch out for those nine toss-up races noted below.


THE 50 RACES THAT WILL DEFINE AMERICA

Here they are…pick a few to work on this weekend.

HOUSE SNAPSHOT
State
Dist.
Latest Polls
BTRTN Rating 11/2
Florida
27
D + 7
D TU (Flip)
Illinois
6
D + 5
D TU (Flip)
California
10
D + 5
D TU (Flip)
California
45
D + 5
D TU (Flip)
New York
19
D + 5
D TU (Flip)
Michigan
11
D + 3
D TU (Flip)
Pennsylvania
16
D + 4
D TU (Flip)
Iowa
3
D + 2
D TU (Flip)
Minnesota
1
D + 2
D TU
Pennsylvania
1
D + 2
D TU
Washington
8
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
New York
22
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
California
39
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
Maine
2
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
New Jersey
3
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
Virginia
7
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
Florida
26
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
Virginia
5
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
Florida
15
Tie
D TU (Flip)
Texas
7
R + 1
D TU (Flip)
Kansas
2
R + 1
D TU (Flip)
Kentucky
6
R + 2
D TU (Flip)
California
48
R + 2
D TU (Flip)
Alaska
1
D + 1
R TU
New Mexico
2
Tie
R TU
Michigan
8
R + 1
R TU
North Carolina
9
R + 1
R TU
Texas
32
R + 1
R TU
Pennsylvania
10
R + 1
R TU
North Carolina
13
R + 3
R TU
Virginia
2
R + 3
R TU
Montana
1
R + 3
R TU
California
25
R + 4
R TU

SENATE SNAPSHOT
State
Inc. Party
Incumbent
Democrat
GOP
Recent Polls Avg
BTRTN Rating 11/2
Dem Seats not up for reelection in 2018 (23)
Solid Dem (21): CA, CT, DE, HA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MN (sp), NJ, NM, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, WV, WI







MONT
D
Tester
Tester
Rosendale
D + 3
D TU
FLA
D
Nelson
Nelson
Scott
D + 3
D TU
ARIZ
R
Flake (ret.)
Sinema
McSally
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
IND
D
Donnelley
Donnelley
Braun
D + 1
D TU
NEV
R
Heller
Rosen
Heller
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
MO
D
McCaskill
McCaskill
Hawley
R + 2
R TU (Flip)
TEXAS
R
Cruz
O'Rourke
Cruz
R + 6
R Lean
TENN
R
Corker (ret.)
Bredesen
Blackburn
R + 7
R Lean







Solid GOP (6):  MISS, MISS (SP), NDAK (flip), NE, UT, WY
GOP seats not up for reelection in 2018:  (42)

GOVERNOR SNAPSHOT
State
Inc. Party
Incumbent
Democrat
GOP
Recent Polls Avg
BTRTN Rating
Dem Seats not up for reelection in 2018 (11)
Solid Dem (7):  CAL, HAW, ILL (Flip), NY,  MICH (Flip), MINN, PA
Lean Dem (6):  COL, CT, ME, NMEX, OR, RI

FLA
R
Scott
Gillum
DeSantis
D + 4
D TU (Flip)
IOWA
R
Reynolds
Hubbell
Reynolds
D + 4
D TU (Flip)
OHIO
R
Kasich
Cordray
DeWine
D + 3
D TU (Flip)
WISC
R
Walker
Evers
Walker
D + 2
D TU (Flip)
SD
R
Daugaard
Sutton
Noem
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
KAN
R
Colyer
Kelly
Kobach
D + 1
D TU (Flip)
GA
R
Deal
Abrams
Kemp
R + 1
R TU
NEV
R
Sandoval
Sisolak
Laxalt
R + 2
R TU
ALASKA
I
Walker*
Begish
Dunleavy
R + 1
R TU

Solid GOP (11): MD, SC, TN, VT, ID, ALA, ARK, MASS, NEB, TEX, WYO
Lean GOP (3): ARI, NH, OKL
GOP seats not up for reelection in 2018:  (7)



3 comments:

  1. How did your model do in 2016? Just askin.....

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