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Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

Wason Center

October 1, 2018

Heading Into October, Democrats Have Almost Locked Down Their House Majority

Midterm / National / Elections

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The House ratings update you’ve been waiting anxiously for is finally here! Again, what distinguishes my forecast from others is that it produced a 42 seat pick up back on July 1. So what we mostly see in this update, and the ones that will follow it, is the solidification of which seats will flip over to the Democrats on November 6th. If you have not already done so, please go back and read the original post of my House forecast, which explains my methodology, which is different than the methods used by my friends over at Crystal BallRealClearPolitics, Inside ElectionsCook Political Report, and FiveThirtyEight.  It also introduces you to a new theory of voting behavior, which argues that the fate of House Republicans was sealed back on November 9th 2016 when Donald Trump became the unlikely winner of the Electoral College, and thus the presidency. That win cemented a big enthusiasm gap in favor of Democrats at least through 2020 due to something called negative partisanship, which argues that in the polarized era, people’s hatred or fear of the “other party” is a major factor driving partisan turnout in midterms and off-year or special elections.  The party locked out of power experiences a turnout surge and produces a wave election that favors their own candidates. In the House this means Democrats are all but guaranteed to take over control of the House and will most likely hold onto most of the “Trump state” Senate seats as well as be competitive in states normally out of reach for them such as Texas senate and Georgia governor, both of which are now being recognized by other outlets as competitive races.

Now back to this update. My faithful followers will know that I made quite a shock wave in June and July when I announced unambiguously there would be a large Democratic wave. Though only just getting into the general election once will see how much movement the other outlets have had towards my predictions since July 1. Astute observers will notice that many of my districts initially coded as “likely to flip” to the Democrats have been reclassified as “will flip” districts and some original “toss up” districts are now “likely to flip.” I now have 22 districts coded as will flip. Several of these have had resources pulled from them by the Republican SuperPac. As you know, Democrats actually need 23 districts to win control of the House and they all virtually guaranteed to do so given my expectation of converting more races into the “will flip” category over the month of October. As you can see, with just a few exceptions, my race raters are still largely on the fence on these districts but I expect that by Election Day, they too will rate these as likely pick-ups for the Democrats. Just remember, you heard it here first.

For now I am keeping my seat pick up count at 42 seats for the Democrats. I should also note that 2 races were downgraded from my original forecast. GA 6, where the Democratic challenger has underperformed and CA 21, where the Republican incumbent is over performing.

Please see my separate forecast for the senate races here and for the governors races here.

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