Official A2K 2018 Congress Prediction Thread

Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2018 03:06 pm
back at cookpolitical


Democrats remain clear favorites for the House majority, but a modest increase in GOP intent to vote may curtail how deep they can push the battlefield into red districts where Trump won by larger margins. Our outlook remains a Democratic gain of between 25 and 40 seats, but if the election were held this week the result might be on the lower end of that range.



Back in 2016, lots of people, myself included, thought that Trump’s "all-base-all-the-time" strategy was ill-conceived. Sure, it would motivate his supporters, but it would also juice up turnout by Democrats and turn off critical swing/independent voters.

In the end, however, Trump’s one-sided intensity focus worked because there was not an equal amount of energy and enthusiasm on the Democratic side for Hillary Clinton. And, instead of turning off voters who weren’t as identified with a partisan tribe, Trump ultimately carried (narrowly) independent voters.

This year, however, is different. While Democrats may not have been fired up about Clinton, they are unified in their motivation to oust Trump. On top of that, independent voters, especially independent women voters, are soured on Trump and congressional Republicans.

At the same time, this election isn’t like 2006, either. That year, featured an unpopular GOP President and a dispirited GOP base. This year, Trump’s job approval is in the same range as Bush’s — but Trump is more popular among the GOP base than Bush was, and, GOP voters are as motivated to vote today as they were back at the height of the Tea Party influence.

In other words, it’s not fair to compare this election to 2016. But, it’s also not fair to suggest it’s 2006 either. It is…different.

A Pew poll taken Sept. 18-24 found "voter enthusiasm is at its highest level during any midterm in more than two decades." Among Republicans, 59 percent said they were more "enthusiastic than usual" to vote this fall. That is 2-points better than GOP enthusiasm at this point in October of 2010 (a high water mark for GOP), and 26 points (!!!) higher than their enthusiasm level in October of 2006 (their low point).

But, enthusiasm among Democrats is even higher. A whopping 67 percent of Democrats say they are “more enthusiastic than usual” to vote this fall. That is 31 points higher than it was in 2014 (the Democrats low-point) and 25 points higher than their enthusiasm level in 2006 (a great year for Democrats).

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also showed an enthusiasm bump for Republicans in September. Merged polling from January to August found 63 percent of Democrats highly interested in the election, compared to just 51 percent of Republicans (a 12-point gap). The September 16-19 poll, however, saw that gap shrink to just four points (65 percent Democratic to 61 percent Republican).

What both Pew and NBC/Wall Street Journal polling also show is that despite the focus on the “Kavanaugh bump” it’s clear that the enthusiasm was already high even before the Kavanaugh vote took place. As one Democratic consultant put it to me the other day: "we always go through this. We take a turn into October and Republicans start coming home and consolidating, and enthusiasm with them increases."

In a nutshell, here’s what’s going on: Republican enthusiasm is about on par with where it was at the height of the anti-Obama fervor of 2010. But, Democratic enthusiasm is higher than it has ever been.

Here’s the other thing. Regardless of where turn-out ends up in November, the enthusiasm gap advantage that Democrats enjoyed throughout 2017-2018 has already taken its toll. It was that energy that prompted a record number of Democrats to run for Congress. And, it prompted Democratic donors to pump a record amount of money to these candidates. Without that enthusiasm boost in 2017 and early 2018, Democrats don’t expand the playing field and don’t have enough money to keep this many seats in play. The barn door may be closed now, but the horses have already escaped.

But, enthusiasm and turnout is only one part of the two-part challenge for Republicans in the House. Earlier this year, a GOP strategist told me: "If we tie with the Democrats on turnout, but lose with Independents on vote preference, we are still in deep doodoo."

I checked in with that strategist this week who says that Kavanaugh "for now, solved the GOP enthusiasm problem. An incredible shift from two weeks ago." But, "the problems among Independents have not been solved by any stretch."

The most recent national polls from Marist, CNN, Quinnipiac and Gallup all show Trump’s job approval rating with independents in dismal territory — between 37 and 40 percent.



Keep in mind that of the 17 Senate races where there is any doubt about the outcome, 14 are in states that voted Trump in 2016. The only exceptions are Minnesota, where Sen. Tina Smith is running for a full term after being appointed to succeed Al Franken; New Jersey, a very Democratic state in a Democratic year but where Bob Menendez is facing a race that is getting closer after the scandal over his alleged corruption; and Nevada, where GOP incumbent Dean Heller is running in a state that went narrowly for Hillary Clinton in the last election. Particularly in the five states that voted for Trump by 19 points or more, the increase in GOP intensity could make lives even more difficult. That’s true even in West Virginia where Democrat Joe Manchin ended up voting in favor of confirmation. For Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Jon Tester in Montana, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana, this is making a tough situation even tougher.

As is the norm for midterm elections, this is a referendum on the president—in this case, a very polarizing president who evokes strong emotions, both positive and negative. For over a year I’ve been seeing the midterms as a tale of two elections, one for the House, governorships and state legislatures that looks to be a very challenging situation for Republicans. Trump’s national approval ratings are comparable to those of presidents preceding previous midterm-election disasters, like President Clinton’s in 1994, President George W. Bush’s in 2006 and President Obama’s in both 2010 and 2014. Even with more congressional and state legislative boundaries drawn to benefit Republicans than Democrats, this blue wave looks taller than the Republican sea wall of boundaries and natural population patterns.

In the governorships, where district lines are not applicable, it is enormous GOP gains in 2010 and 2014 that leave Republicans overexposed, with only one way to go: down. Democrats have surprising chances of picking up Republican governorships in some normally very red states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, not to mention some other places like Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin. In some of these states, it is state spending cuts, particularly on education, that is causing some voters to move in ways that might not be normally expected.

How did we get into this mess? Having lived in Washington for 46 years since coming to town in September 1972 as a college freshman, four months later starting on Capitol Hill as a Senate elevator operator and intern, I have never seen the bitterness, the level of partisan vitriol that we are seeing today, and that period encompasses two impeachments, two very unpopular wars, and scores of momentous political and legislative battles. Our country is more divided today that at any time since Reconstruction, the period of the late 1860s, 1870s, and early 1880s immediately after the Civil War. Conservative commentator and former Education Secretary William Bennett speculated that things were more badly divided than at any time since just before that war.

What is most alarming today is that our judiciary, the one branch of government designed to be the least political, has now become equally politicized. It's now a legitimate question about how long will it take a Supreme Court nominee picked by a president of one party to again be confirmed by a Senate controlled by the opposite party.

0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 06:25 am
Today’s the day. Any last predictions?
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 06:26 am
maporsche wrote:

Today’s the day. Any last predictions?

Trump will be extrablowhard today.
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Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 06:29 am
538 has said that there is a 40% chance that either the Republicans keep control of the house OR they lose control of the Senate.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 08:03 am
maporsche wrote:
Today’s the day. Any last predictions?

It looks like the Democrats are surging in Nevada. But the Republicans are gaining in Missouri. It's almost even odds there now.

And the Republicans look strong in North Dakota.

The Democrats can't take the Senate without holding onto both Missouri and North Dakota.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 08:27 am

we'll see how it works out

hopefully today's turnout is similar to the early voting
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 08:30 am
from above link

Rating Changes
AZ-01: O'Halleran - Likely D to Lean D →
CA-49: OPEN - Lean D to Likely D ←
FL-25: Diaz-Balart - Likely R to Lean R ←
GA-06: Handel - Lean R to Toss Up ←
MI-06: Upton - Likely R to Lean R ←
PA-10: Perry - Lean R to Toss Up ←
TX-06: OPEN - Solid R to Likely R ←
TX-10: McCaul - Solid R to Likely R ←
WA-08: OPEN - Toss Up to Lean D ←
WV-02: Mooney - Solid R to Likely R ←

Updated Bottom Lines:
AZ-01: Tom O'Halleran (D) - Northeast: Flagstaff, Navajo Nation, Casa Grande
Lean Democratic. O'Halleran won 51 percent to 43 percent in 2016, aided by physical abuse allegations engulfing GOP nominee Paul Babeu. But now he must defend a seat President Trump narrowly carried, and several GOP polls have shown a tight race against Air Force veteran Wendy Rogers. House Majority PAC is concerned enough that they're on air with an old clip of Rogers saying that social security should be phased out.

CA-49: OPEN (Issa) (R) - Northern San Diego County: Oceanside
Likely Democratic. Despite their initial high hopes for former Board of Equalization member Diane Harkey, most Republicans now acknowledge Democratic environmental attorney Mike Levin is on track to capture this open northern San Diego County seat. A late October New York Times/Siena College poll found Levin leading 53 percent to 39 percent, up from a ten point lead in September.

FL-25: Mario Diaz-Balart (R) - South: Hialeah, Doral, Naples suburbs
Lean Republican. Diaz-Balart is a member of Cuban GOP political royalty, and this is the most Republican of the three Cuban-dominated seats the Miami area. But it voted for President Trump by just 50 percent to 48 percent in 2016. Hours before the May filing deadline, Democrats convinced former circuit judge Mary Barzee Flores to switch from the crowded open 27th CD to run here. Now, she may have some late momentum.

This has turned into a nasty and expensive race. Barzee Flores has raised $1.9 million to Diaz-Balart's $2.1 million and has accused him of taking NRA contributions in the wake of the Parkland massacre and his wife, a travel agent, of promoting "dream vacations" to Venezuela. For his part, Diaz-Balart went up on air in July attacking Barzee Flores's husband for defending clients accused of illegally shipping arms to Iran.

Democrats are circulating a new private poll showing Diaz-Balart under 50 percent and leading by just five points, with gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum leading comfortably. They also contend the red tide towards the western portion of this district (Collier County) will depress GOP enthusiasm. There's no question the political environment has deteriorated for South Florida Republicans, but this would still be a massive upset.

GA-06: Karen Handel (R) - Atlanta suburbs: Roswell, Alpharetta
Toss Up. Handel overcame over $40 million in Democratic ads to beat Jon Ossoff by four points in last year's notorious special election, but Republicans are increasingly concerned that Democrat Stacey Abrams's strength in the highly professional northern Atlanta suburbs could jeopardize Handel's bid for a full term. A new New York Times/Siena College poll finds Democrat Lucy McBath leading the incumbent 46 percent to 44 percent.

McBath, who is African-American, became a gun control activist after her son, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was murdered at a gas station six years ago. Michael Bloomberg's group, Everytown for Gun Safety, has flooded the district with late ads, and an Abrams-led surge in black turnout (the 6th CD is 13 percent African-American) could help McBath erode Handel's 9,282 vote margin from the special election. It's a Toss Up.

MI-06: Fred Upton (R)- Southwest: Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor
Lean Republican. Democrats are making Upton, the former Energy and Commerce chair, work for a 17th term. The DCCC is up on air bashing Upton's vote to repeal the ACA, intoning, "After 32 years in Washington, Fred Upton has changed." Republicans claim the race isn't that close, but the Congressional Leadership Fund is on air accusing Democratic former YMCA national medical director Matt Longjohn of embellishing his medical credentials.

This western Michigan seat voted 51 percent to 43 percent for President Trump in 2016, and Democrats are hopeful the governor's race and a big margin out of Kalamazoo (home to Western Michigan University) boost Longjohn. But Upton, who has spent $2.7 million to Longjohn's $1.1 million and also received air cover from Defending Main Street PAC and the American Hospital Association, remains the favorite.

PA-10: Scott Perry (R) - Central: Harrisburg, York
Toss Up. Perry, an Iraq veteran and three-term Freedom Caucus member, never had to run a real general election in his old, safe seat. But in February, court-ordered redistricting thrust him into a much more suburban district centered on Harrisburg that's 42 percent new to him. It's been over a decade since central Pennsylvania has hosted a competitive race, and now some Republicans are worried Perry could get caught napping.

Democratic George Scott has outraised Perry $1.2 million to $535,000 since June, and that edge goes a long way in a cheap market. Scott's background as a Gulf War veteran, pastor and political outsider who doesn't take corporate PAC money seems to be resonating against Perry, a longtime state legislator. A late October New York Times/Siena College poll found the incumbent leading just 45 percent to 43 percent.

Perry has attacked Scott for running a Democratic primary ad that depicted him throwing a rifle into a bonfire. But the DCCC and House Majority PAC are on air attacking Perry's record on pre-existing conditions, and now the Club for Growth has swooped in to try to bail out Perry in a seat President Trump carried by nine points. Republicans also fear their poor standing in statewide races could weigh Perry down.

TX-06: OPEN (Barton) (R) - Dallas suburbs: Arlington, Waxahachie
Likely Republican. Republican Ron Wright hasn't run much of a campaign since winning a sleepy May runoff for his old boss's seat with an endorsement from the Club for Growth. He doesn't appear to have updated his campaign website since the primary, and he's been outraised by EMILY's List-endorsed Democratic communications consultant Jana Lynne Sanchez $645,000 to $574,000 this cycle.

Instead, Wright - a Freedom Caucus aspirant whose slogan is "back the bowtie" - appears to be coasting on his name ID as a former Tarrant County tax assessor and Arlington councilman, as well as the district's GOP lean (it voted for President Trump 54 percent to 42 percent). Neither candidate has the resources to communicate effectively, so the race could be sensitive to any suburban movement in the Senate contest.

TX-10: Michael McCaul (R) - Central: Austin and Houston suburbs
Likely Republican. McCaul, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, faces a lackluster opponent in liberal Austin Assistant City Attorney Mike Siegel. And the incumbent is taking his race seriously, spending $1.7 million. But in this political environment, any district that President Trump carried by single digits (52 percent to 43 percent) and includes part of the city of Austin (a Beto O'Rourke hotbed) merits caution.

WA-08: OPEN (Reichert) (R) - Cascades: Auburn, Ellensburg, Chelan
Lean Democratic. Republican Dino Rossi carried this district three times running statewide and started out with superior money and name recognition, but those advantages have faded. Democratic physician Kim Schrier outraised Rossi $1.6 million to $320,000 in the first half of October and Rossi is getting pummeled in the Seattle market. Back in August, Democrats outpolled Republicans in the top-two primary, 50 percent to 47 percent.

An early November New York Times/Siena College poll shows Schrier opening a 48 percent to 45 percent lead after leading by one point in late September. Even worse for Rossi, more voters viewed him unfavorably (47 percent) than favorably (44 percent), while Schrier was right-side up by ten points in the latest poll. This seat voted for Hillary Clinton 47 percent to 44 percent in 2016 and looks more like a Democratic takeover than ever.

WV-02: Alex Mooney (R) - Central: Charleston, Eastern Panhandle
Likely Republican. in 2016, Mooney ran eight points behind President Trump's 66 percent in the 2nd CD because of lingering voter concerns about carpetbagging (he was the Maryland state GOP chair less than six years ago). Democrats still hold a narrow voter registration advantage here, and a new Emerson poll shows Mooney leading former Sen. Jay Rockefeller aide Talley Sergent by just 47 percent to 39 percent.

Mooney has taken the challenge seriously and has spent $873,000 on ads reminding voters that Sergent served as Hillary Clinton's 2016 West Virginia state director. That's probably enough to win, but Sergent has spent a respectable $470,000 on ads contrasting her roots in the state with Mooney's previous residence. If Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is to win reelection against a former New Jersey resident, he'll need to carry the 2nd CD.

0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 11:51 am
Millions of voters across the country are heading to the polls Tuesday, but some are having more trouble voting than others.

Here are some of the voter issues and irregularities that CNN has found so far this Election Day, from power outages to excessive humidity.

A polling place at Cedar Bluff Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee, did not have power Tuesday morning and the site's backup generator has also failed.

Cliff Rodgers, administrator for elections for Knox County, told CNN that people on site are urgently working to get the power on, and voting is still ongoing.

"We're voting with paper ballots," he told CNN by phone.

Because there's no ambient light in the building, they're voting outside. Out of an abundance of caution, Rodgers says, he's ordered more paper ballots to the polling place.

Humidity in North Carolina

The North Carolina state board of elections said humidity appears to be causing difficulties in feeding ballots through tabulators in some Wake County precincts.

In a news release, NC's State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement says such ballots will be stored in "emergency bins" and "will be tabulated as soon as possible." All ballots will be counted, the board said.

Late start in Brooklyn

Voters were locked out of a polling place in Brooklyn, New York, for about 90 minutes on Tuesday morning, according to a city elections official.

The site had been scheduled to open at 6 a.m. ET. However, voting at the Breukelen Community Center began around 7:30 a.m., said Valerie Vazquez, the communications director for the New York City Board of Elections.

The polling site is a New York City Housing Authority property and poll workers could not open an electronic lock on the building, Vazquez said. She did not have immediate information on how many voters were affected.

DHS official warns of 'garbage' information

Federal officials are monitoring for potential misinformation campaigns, including from foreign actors such as Russia, but have no "significant" incidents to report.

"The day is early," a senior Department of Homeland Security official said. "We continue to monitor what is going on across the country. Nothing significant to report at this point. ... We have not seen to date any coordinated campaign certainly along the lines of 2016, but we are preparing as if there will be an event today."

The official said "there's a lot of noise out there," and called it "garbage" information but referred specific questions about any influence from foreign actors to the FBI.

DHS has a national operations center and an online forum to communicate with state officials.


I am more worried about Georgia and the exact match thing, does anyone know how that is going?
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 12:05 pm
Humidity in North Carolina

The North Carolina state board of elections said humidity appears to be causing difficulties in feeding ballots through tabulators in some Wake County precincts

Squinney just posted on FB calling bullshit on this - she says there is no heat or humidity in Wake County.
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 12:13 pm
My impression is that polling results so far on average ( and they do vary a lot) indicate that the Republicans will retain control of the Senate by a narrow margin and the Democrats will win in the House by a margin of 4 or 5.

In our last election we saw a very interesting, and unusually large, margin between the actual performance of Trump, and Republicans as a whole, in the election and the forecasts indicated by the polls. This was manifest both in the Presidential results and those in the Congress and State Legislatures. I suspect the central question now is how much of that margin between polls and outcome remains today. The popular forces behind it two years ago appear to continue today, but I don't claim to know by how much.

This will be an interesting day.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 02:32 pm

I am more worried about Georgia and the exact match thing, does anyone know how that is going?

I think that that was settled by Judge Ross on Friday, but there may be some voters who will only be able to cast provisional ballots.
Of greater interest to me is in the governor's race, neither the Dem or Repub will get to 50%...owing to the Libertarian who may end up at 4 or 5%.
If so, there will be a runoff in early December.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2018 03:53 pm
All kinds of weird things seem to be happening. At my polling place, the picture on the screen shows you the face you are to put your ballot sheet in the screaning thing, but the lady monitoring says you are supposed to put it the other way. Later I asked my husband if I put it face down, did I do it right, and he said I did because he went through the same thing (with the lady telling him to do the opposite of how the instructions looked on the screen). Luckily my grandkids were with me, I couldn't hear a thing it was so crowded. (need some hearing aides, never seem to budget for it...) They are used to interpreting for me out in public. My kids used to do the same thing.
0 Replies

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