Swing State Pres

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

BTRTN 2020 Snapshot: Dems Likely to Rock the House in November

Tom looks at the House races as of today – a “snapshot”, not a prediction.

OUR TRACK RECORD

This is our first BTRTN in-depth look at the House of Representative races in 2020.  The headline:  at this juncture we see almost no chance that the Democrats will lose control of the House.  Rather, if current race dynamics hold, they will likely pick up a significant number of seats and extend their majority.

The BTRTN track record in predicting House elections has been exceptionally strong.  Here are the predictions and outcomes in the last five elections: 

BTRTN PREDICTED VS. ACTUAL
Year
BTRTN Prediction
Actual Outcome
2010
R + 58
R + 63
2012
D + 4
D + 8
2014
R + 10
R + 13
2016
D + 5
D + 6
2018
D + 38
D + 41


THE MODEL

Our predictions are driven by our proprietary BTRTN House Prediction Regression Model (actually, four separate models), which use relevant predictive data compiled since the 1970 midterms (credit where credit is due:  the models have been created by my daughter, Allie).  

The model specifically predicts how many seats the Democrats will pick up or lose in the overall election.  Thus it is not a “race by race” analysis, which are covered by the various rating services (Cook, Politico and several others). 

The most important variable in the model is the so-called “generic ballot,” in which survey respondents are asked which party they would vote for in the coming House election, without naming any specific candidates (thus, “generic”).  This has proven time and again to be a crucial and highly predictive data point.

The other important variable in the model is the number of seats currently held by the Democratic party.  The more seats the Democrats hold – and they have a solid majority now, by virtue of the “Blue Wave” of 2018 -- the harder it will be to win more, simply because the seats they will have to now flip are likely to be more entrenched for the GOP (after all, they managed to stay red in 2018).   So even if the generic ballot in 2020 is similar to that of 2018 – and, as of now, it is – it will not likely result in a Blue Wave of similar proportion.


STATE OF PLAY

All 435 House seats are up for reelection, of course.  The Democrats currently hold 232 seats, while the GOP holds 201.  There are four vacancies, due to the death of John Lewis (D -GA 5); the moves of Mark Meadows (R - NC 11) and John Ratcliffe (R - TX 4) into positions in the Trump Administration; the resignation of Duncan Hunter (R - CA 50).  And then there is Justin Amash, who was elected to Michigan’s 3rd district as a Republican, but then left the GOP, first to become an independent, and then a Libertarian.

For the purposes of predicting Democratic gains or losses, it is convenient to think in terms of where those five seats “belong” and add them to the sitting representative totals – so there are 233 Democratic seats (232 sitting reps plus Lewis’s vacant seat) and 205 Republican seats (201 sitting GOP reps plus the Meadows, Ratcliffe, Hunter and Amash seats).  So we will be predicting how many seats the Dems will gain or lose from 233.

The generic ballot has been strongly in the Democrats’ favor since Trump’s election in 2016; the Dems have held a +4 to +9 advantage during that entire time.  At the time of the 2018 midterms the Dems led by +8 points, which translated directly to the Blue Wave, when the Dems flipped 41 seats from red to blue.

Right now, the Democrats again lead the generic ballot by +8 points, averaging all 18 polls that have been conducted since July 1.

Another factor in the Democrats favor is the number of retiring representatives.  It is harder to flip a seat held by an incumbent than a new candidate who is replacing a retiring one.  Fully 37 Republicans are not running for reelection, many of them tired of doing Trump’s bidding and not anxious for a bruising campaign.  Only 7 Democrats are not running for reelection.  (We should note that the aforementioned Libertarian Justin Amash is not running for reelection either.)


TODAY’S SNAPSHOT 

This BTRTN snapshot indicates that if Election Day were today, the Democrats would pick up somewhere in the range of +17 seats and extend control of the House to a mammoth margin of seats, 250 to 188.


BTRTN 2020 HOUSE SNAPSHOT
Party
Current
2020
Change
% Chance Dems Control House
Democrats
233
250
+17
99%
Republicans
205
188
-17


SPECIFIC RACES

At this juncture we see 86 races “in play.”  That is, we believe there are 192 Democratic seats that the Democrats can surely count on winning (“solid” in the parlance) and 157 GOP that fall in the same category.  The 86 seats are held evenly between the Democrats and Republicans, 43 apiece.  But we see the Dems holding each of their seats and flipping 17 of the GOP seats.   We have arrayed all the races as follows:

BTRTN HOUSE RATINGS SUMMARY

Current
As of 8/10/2020
Flip
DEM TOTAL
233
250
17
Dem Solid

192
2
Dem Likely

16

Dem Lean

24
3
Dem Toss-up

18
12
GOP Toss-up

7

GOP Lean

9

GOP Likely

12

GOP Solid

157

GOP TOTAL
202
185
-17

And here is a breakdown of all 86 of the “in play” races as we see them in this snapshot, ranked in order of likelihood of winning the seat.

BTRTN RATINGS FOR 86 SEATS “IN PLAY”
State/District
Incumbent
Retiring
2018 Result
BTRTN Rating 8/10/20
Flip
California 10
Josh Harder (D)

52.3% D
D Likely

California 45
Katie Porter (D)

52.1% D
D Likely

New York 18
Sean Patrick Maloney (D)

55.5% D
D Likely

Florida 13
Charlie Crist (D)

57.6% D
D Likely

Illinois 6
Sean Casten (D)

53.6% D
D Likely

New Jersey 11
Mikie Sherrill (D)

56.8% D
D Likely

Washington 8
Kim Schrier (D)

52.4% D
D Likely

Florida 27
Donna Shalala (D)

51.8% D
D Likely

Michigan 11
Haley Stevens (D)

51.8% D
D Likely

Nevada 4
Steven Horsford (D)

51.9% D
D Likely

Pennsylvania 17
Conor Lamb (D)

56.3% D
D Likely

Minnesota 2
Angie Craig (D)

52.7% D
D Likely

Nevada 3
Susie Lee (D)

51.9% D
D Likely

New York 19
Antonio Delgado (D)

51.4% D
D Likely

Arizona 1
Tom O'Halleran (D)

53.8% D
D Likely

Pennsylvania 7
Susan Wild (D)

53.5% D
D Likely

California 39
Gil Cisneros (D)

51.6% D
D Lean

Kansas 3
Sharice Davids (D)

53.6% D
D Lean

Michigan 8
Elissa Slotkin (D)

50.6% D
D Lean

New Hampshire 1
Chris Pappas (D)

53.6% D
D Lean

Pennsylvania 8
Matt Cartwright (D)

54.6% D
D Lean

Illinois 14
Lauren Underwood (D)

52.5% D
D Lean

Texas 32
Colin Allred (D)

52.3% D
D Lean

Texas 23
Will Hurd (R)
Retiring
49.2% R
D Lean
Flip
California 48
Harley Rouda (D)

53.6% D
D Lean

Iowa 2
Dave Loebsack (D)
Retiring
54.8% D
D Lean

New Jersey 7
Tom Malinowski (D)

51.7% D
D Lean

California 21
TJ Cox (D)

50.4% D
D Lean

Florida 26
D. Mucarsel-Powell (D)

50.9% D
D Lean

Texas 7
Lizzie Fletcher (D)

52.5% D
D Lean

Virginia 2
Elaine Luria (D)

51.1% D
D Lean

Georgia 6
Lucy McBath (D)

50.5% D
D Lean

Iowa 3
Cindy Axne (D)

49.3% D
D Lean

Iowa 1
Abby Finkenauer (D)

51.0% D
D Lean

Virginia 7
Abigail Spanberger (D)

50.3% D
D Lean

New Jersey 3
Andy Kim (D)

50.0% D
D Lean

California 25
Mike Garcia (R)

54.9% R
D Lean
Flip
New Mexico 2
Xochitl Torres Small (D)

50.9% D
D Lean

Utah 4
Ben McAdams (D)

50.1% D
D Lean

Texas 22
Pete Olson (R)
Retiring
51.4% R
D Lean
Flip
Georgia 7
Rob Woodall (R)
Retiring
50.1% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Maine 2
Jared Golden (D)

50.5% D
D Toss-up

Minnesota 7
Collin Peterson (D)

52.1% D
D Toss-up

New York 22
Anthony Brindisi (D)

50.8% D
D Toss-up

South Carolina 1
Joe Cunningham (D)

50.6% D
D Toss-up

New York 11
Max Rose (D)

53.0% D
D Toss-up

Texas 24
Kenny Marchant (R)
Retiring
50.6% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Oklahoma 5
Kendra Horn (D)

50.7% D
D Toss-up

Texas 21
Chip Roy (R)

50.2% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Illinois 13
Rodney Davis (R)

50.4% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Indiana 5
Susan Brooks (R)
Retiring
56.8% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Missouri 2
Ann Wagner (R)

51.2% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Nebraska 2
Don Bacon (R)

51.0% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Pennsylvania 10
Scott Perry (R)

51.3% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Arizona 6
David Schweikert (R)

55.2% R
D Toss-up
Flip
New Jersey 2
Jeff Van Drew (R)

52.9% D
D Toss-up
Flip
New York 2
Peter T. King (R)
Retiring
53.1% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Ohio 1
Steve Chabot (R)

51.3% R
D Toss-up
Flip
Michigan 3
Justin Amash (L)
Retiring
54.4% R
R Toss-up

Minnesota 1
Jim Hagedorn (R)

50.1% R
R Toss-up

Pennsylvania 1
Brian Fitzpatrick (R)

51.3% R
R Toss-up

Texas 10
Michael McCaul (R)

51.1% R
R Toss-up

New York 24
John Katko (R)

52.6% R
R Toss-up

Florida 15
Ross Spano (R)

53.0% R
R Toss-up

North Carolina 8
Richard Hudson (R)

55.3% R
R Toss-up

Michigan 6
Fred Upton (R)

50.2% R
R Lean

Washington 3
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R)

52.7% R
R Lean

Montana at-large
Greg Gianforte (R)

50.9% R
R Lean

New York 1
Lee Zeldin (R)

51.5% R
R Lean

Virginia 5
Denver Riggleman (R)

53.2% R
R Lean

Alaska-at-Large
Don Young (R)

53.1% R
R Lean

Arkansas 2
French Hill (R)

52.1% R
R Lean

Colorado 3
Scott Tipton (R)

51.5% R
R Lean

Texas 2
Dan Crenshaw (R)

52.8% R
R Lean

Florida 16
Vern Buchanan (R)

54.6% R
R Likely

Kentucky 6
Andy Barr (R)

51.0% R
R Likely

Ohio 10
Mike Turner (R)

55.9% R
R Likely

Texas 25
Roger Williams (R)

53.5% R
R Likely

Texas 3
Van Taylor (R)

54.3% R
R Likely

Texas 31
John Carter (R)

50.6% R
R Likely

Kansas 2
Steve Watkins (R)

47.6% R
R Likely

Ohio 12
Troy Balderson (R)

51.4% R
R Likely

Florida 18
Brian Mast (R)

54.3% R
R Likely

New York 21
Elise Stefanik (R)

56.1% R
R Likely

North Carolina 9
Dan Bishop (R)

50.7% R
R Likely

Texas 6
Ron Wright (R)

53.1% R
R Likely




4 comments:

  1. I'd suggest one more refinement:
    Colorado3 Tipton (R) 51.5% R R Lean

    The difference is, Tipton got beat in the primary, losing to a first time candidate mainly known for her willingness to confront the libs. Ms. Boebert is a very different sort of candidate -- and it is quite possible she won't fit the district's voters in a Presidential election year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, and considered, John. Will keep an eye on it! Thanks!

      Delete
  2. Are you including the redrawn seats in NC that are all but certain to flip in this forcast?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I did include them in the 17 flips. NC 2 and 6 are the two Dem flips that are in the "solid D" category, so they do not appear in the chart that lists the 86 races in play. I should have mentioned that, thanks, I will in the next write-up.

      Delete

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