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While each model draws on its own set of indicators, some context may be helpful. What do the history of midterm elections and the number of seats each party is defending in the arithmetic of the election , and the political climate leading up to the fall campaign broadly indicate about ?
The presidential party has lost seats in all but three , , and of the 29 midterms held since In the 17 midterms held since , presidential party losses averaged 24 House seats. Since the mids, the mean loss has been 20 seats and a median of only 10 seats.
While midterm losses in House seats are routine, they vary greatly, and this variation has increased substantially. The standard deviation of presidential party midterm seat losses increased from a standard deviation of 17 seats to to 27 seats to Polarized parties have diminished the number of easily flipped seats; but, in doing so, they have increased the number of seats taken when short-term conditions more strongly favor one party.
House seat changes are in an era of feast or famine. Based on the history of seat changes, the real question is not which party will gain seats, but whether Democratic House seat gains will be small or large.
The number of seats each party holds and needs to win to achieve a majority, the congressional arithmetic of , is also an important context of the election. At first glance, current party divisions would seem to favor Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House.
However, the prospects of Democratic majorities are just the opposite: Despite their presidential candidate losing the national popular vote and losing a net six seats, Republicans won a seat majority Republicans to Democrats in the House in So, using the prior election as the baseline, Democrats need a pickup of 24 seats to reach seats for a majority.
This seemingly small shift, however, is a tall order. Democrats are defending many more seats than Republicans this year. Of the 35 Senate seats up, Democrats hold 26 and Republicans just nine. Democrats have to do well just to hold their current overall numbers.
The reason for this is found in the previous three elections for this class of Senate seats. In , Democrats gained six seats, and in , they gained four seats. That is history, but how is the current political climate steering the electorate? Despite strong economic growth real GDP growth of 4. Is this good or bad news for the in-party? Moreover, aside from Presidents George H. Other than the Bushes, every president since the mids has had approval ratings in the low to mid 40s at their first midterm.
The bad news for Republicans is that the parties of each of these four recent non-Bush presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama suffered double-digit House seat losses in their midterms and two lost more than 50 seats Clinton in and Obama in What follows are four independent congressional forecasts that inform us about what we should expect to come out of this election. Table 1 presents a summary of these congressional forecasts. Although there are differences among them, two points are common.
This is likely to be a very good year for the Democrats in the House of Representatives. In fact, all four forecasts expect a Democratic House majority. In the Senate, Republicans are likely to hold their own and perhaps pick up a seat or two.
So, on to the forecasts. For more details about the forecasts, see the links at the top of this piece. The Seats-in-Trouble model of party seat change in national congressional elections both on-year and midterms is a hybrid election forecasting model. It combines the insights and comprehensive assessments of expert election analysts examining in depth the conditions of individual House and Senate contests with a rigorous statistical analysis of historical aggregate data of partisan seat change.
The Seats-in-Trouble forecasting equation built from these observations was first used in the House elections. It has since been modified, tweaked, and extended to Senate elections. The accuracy of its forecasts in its various incarnations has been quite good until , when substantial expected Democratic seat gains failed to materialize. The raw material of seats-in-trouble equation is the pre-election competitiveness ratings of individual district or state races determined by The Cook Political Report since the mids.
The seats-in-trouble index aggregates these individual district or state in application to the Senate ratings to a national measure. The revised index now counts a seat as being in trouble if it is rated as a toss-up or worse for the party currently holding the seat.
The index is computed as the net difference in the number of seats in trouble for each party: Democratic seats in trouble minus Republican seats in trouble. A negative relationship is expected between the number of seats in trouble for a party and the number of seats actually gained by that party. The seats in trouble index is plotted against seat change for Democrats in House and Senate elections in Figures 1 and 2 respectively, and the associated regression equations are presented in Table 1.
Ratings around August were not made in and and those elections, therefore, are not included. Ratings around August were not made in and are, therefore, not included. Standard errors are in parentheses. House estimates are based on elections from , , and from to Data was unavailable for the Senate in The seats in trouble count is from The Cook Political Report in or around mid-August of the election year.
As Figure 1 and the table indicate, the index and actual seat changes are strongly related in House elections and the conversion of vulnerable seats to lost seats is greater than one in absolute value. The presidential race will start far earlier than usual. President Donald Trump has been actively running for re-election since he assumed office. And Democrats eager to challenge him are already trying to outdo each other daily. There could easily be five to 10 declared, serious presidential candidates by the end of Mueller will not decide the midterms.
But even if he does, the notion that anything incriminating the White House or Trump campaign will automatically return the House to the Democrats is specious. Yes, people are highly focused and energized right now, but corruption is rarely an overwhelming factor in elections. Cannabis and crypto will come to a head. The only thing we know for sure about the current bull run on Bitcoin is that government is going to have to get more involved soon. Absent a way to separate the good actors from the bad, the entire crypto sector is highly vulnerable to fraud, manipulation and a resounding crash.
The SEC and Congress will see this and step in. With California containing up to 40 percent of the U. Mainstream media and non-mainstream media will become the same thing. Trump has been great for media businesses of all stripes.
This trend has been happening for a while. It went on hyperspeed in , and next year, it will become the norm. Senators will capitalize on their newfound celebrity.