We've added a new feature to the 2018 House Election Simulator. As each simulated election is run, a table will populate below the map showing the seats that flip to the other party. The table also includes the consensus rating for each district listed.
More than 130,000 simulations have been run since we launched this back on September 22nd. Below the map, you can view the results of the most recent 5,000. Currently, Democrats are winning just over 75% of the time. Individual simulation results will vary widely, as there remains a wide distribution of plausible outcomes.
We're into the last full month before the November 6th midterm elections. Early voting is already underway in some states. The maps below reflect the current consensus ratings of Sabato's Crystal Ball, The Cook Political Report, and Inside Elections. For purposes of these maps, only races rated safe by all three of these forecasters are shown in the darkest shade of red/blue. This gives us the broadest view of the competitive landscape. Note that the discussion below is as of October 1st. However, the map images themselves will update as the consensus evolves.
Democrats need to gain two seats for control. The party has a more plausible path to achieving that than earlier this year, as the GOP-held seats in Texas and Tennessee have become much more competitive than expected. However, it is still an uphill climb, with Democrats defending 26 of the 35 seats up this year. Five of those states (Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) were won by Donald Trump by 18 points or more in 2016. Even if Democrats manage to hold all their seats, they still need to win two GOP seats, most likely some combination of Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and/or Texas. The special election in Mississippi is a longer-shot Democratic opportunity. What's interesting about this race is that it will likely go to a November 27th runoff. Should Election Day end with Democrats holding a 50-49 lead in seats, we won't know who will control the Senate until this runoff is held.
There was an interesting New York Times article this past weekend discussing how President Trump and Senate Republicans are hoping the drawn-out confirmation battle for Judge Kavanaugh will help them hold the Senate. However, there is also recognition in the party that the cost of this will almost certainly be control of the House of Representatives. They seem willing to make that trade-off given the increasing probability that the House will flip regardless. Of the 116 districts not rated safe by all three forecasters, 100 of them are GOP-held*. Of the 63 most competitive races (consensus toss-up or leaning), Republicans currently have 58 of them. That gives Democrats plenty of places to gain the 23 they need to take control. Our new House Election Simulator gives Democrats a 78% chance of taking the House.
* This can be seen more easily in the new Table View. Vacancies are counted with the party that most recently held the seat
Republicans hold 33 of the 50 governorships; this is near a historic high. There are elections in 36 states this year. While there's not a 'battle for control' in the same way as in Congress, these elections are extremely important in the context of how Congress - specifically the House - will take shape in the next decade. That's because governors can have a large role - varies by state - in the redistricting process that takes place after the Census. The governors elected this year will be in place* for that process. Regardless of which way these elections break there will be a new governor in at least 17 of these 36 states. Most of those governors are departing due to term limits. This partially explains the large number of competitive races this year. 19 of the 36 races are seen as highly competitive, with a toss-up or leans consensus rating.
* Except for New Hampshire and Vermont, which have two-year terms. This issue also isn't relevant for states with only one district. In terms of 2018 gubernatorial elections, that includes Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and the aforementioned Vermont.
We've introduced a 'table view' to the 2018 House Interactive Map. When available, you'll see the Table View button to the bottom right of the map.
Table view lets you look at your map as - well - a table. With 435 districts, some of them very small, it is a bit challenging to see how individual districts are categorized and to aggregate all the districts within a category. The alternative table view presentation should help with that.
The simulator is primarily derived from the data-driven 2018 U.S. House Midterms Election Forecast from The Crosstab by G. Elliott Morris. However, it also takes into consideration the consensus projection of a number of long-time expert forecasters. This has the effect of limiting extremely unlikely outcomes, as there is an extra hurdle districts considered 'safe' by all the experts must overcome before they will change parties in a given simulation. However, the net effect of this 'governor' across many thousands of simulations is relatively small.
We're hoping to add a feature in the days ahead that will list all the district flipped when a simulation is run.
* The simulation occurs before the map is populated, so this choice doesn't affect the outcome
Although still about 45 days away, early voting for the 2018 midterm elections began Friday in Minnesota and three other states. New Jersey follows tomorrow, with Illinois next Thursday. Several more states will follow in early October, with over 30 states offering some form of early voting by late in the month. Note that requirements vary by state; some require a valid excuse to avoid voting on Election Day. Also, in some states the early voting period varies by location.
Minnesota is notable due to the number of competitive races it has this year. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is not seeking a 3rd term. While the races leans Democratic, it is no sure thing. Likewise, in Minnesota's special election for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tina Smith is favored, but polling for this race has been much closer than for the 'regular' Senate election held by fellow Democrat Amy Klobuchar.
The congressional races are particularly interesting. Three of the state's 8 districts (MN-1, MN-2 and MN-8) are currently considered toss-ups, with the GOP-held 3rd hovering between toss-up and leans Democratic. MN-7 is considered likely to vote with 14-term incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson, but Donald Trump won here by 31% in 2016, his largest margin of victory in any district that elected a Democrat to Congress.
Minnesota's early voting continues through the day before the midterms. We're a bit conflicted by this. Early voting is a great way to get a higher percentage of registered voters to cast a ballot. That said, people voting well in advance of Election Day do so without complete information. This shrinks the pool of voters left to be persuaded to consider another candidate and/or react to developments in the campaign.
On the advice of his attorneys, GOP Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27) will remain on the November ballot. Collins was indicted for insider trading back in August and he subsequently suspended his campaign. However, efforts to remove him from the ballot - a tough thing to do in New York state - have proven unsuccessful.
The change further improves the Democratic outlook for this previously safe Republican stronghold between Rochester and Buffalo. Donald Trump won here by nearly 25% in 2016, his largest margin of victory in any of the state's 27 congressional districts. Kyle Kondik, of Sabato's Crystal Ball, indicates the race will move from Likely to Leans Republican.
Sheesh. Assuming this happens we'll downgrade NY-27 from Likely R to Leans R - same rating as CA-50, another R seat with a legally damaged R incumbent running https://t.co/oIL2jDuyX9
We're following the Democratic primaries for governor and attorney general. Polls close at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Live results will be available on this page after that time. Reload for the latest totals.
Incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking a 3rd term. He faces a challenge from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon. While the race has generated quite a bit of publicity, the polls indicate that Cuomo should prevail rather easily. Assuming Cuomo moves on, he should have little trouble winning reelection. The Republican nominee will be Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. (We are pleased to see that perennial candidate Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent is Too Damn High party, is also on the November ballot).
New York Democratic Primary for Attorney General
In a race that could impact President Trump down the road, four candidates are vying to become the state's next attorney general. A recent poll showed no clear frontrunner. The 2018 race opened up when Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned in May after abuse allegations became public. The acting AG, Barbara Underwood, is not running. The Republican nominee will be Keith Wofford.
Democratic Gina Raimondo is attempting to win a 2nd term. In the 2014 gubernatorial election, she defeated Republican nominee Allan Fung by about 4.5%. A 2018 general election rematch is a distinct possibility, although both must first get past primary challengers. The centrist Raimondo is facing a more liberal opponent, former Secretary of State Matt Brown.
Rhode Island Senate Primaries
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is heavily favored to win a 3rd term in November.
The final week of the 2018 primary calendar has arrived. Three days, three Northeastern states; although for one of those it is the completion of a split primary. New Hampshire kicks things off Tuesday; see below for a preview and live results. Rhode Island holds its primaries on Wednesday. The party primaries for governor are what we'll be watching there. New York wraps things up Thursday, with primaries for non-Federal offices. For our purposes, that is just the high-profile Democratic gubernatorial primary featuring incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo and actress/activist Cynthia Nixon.
New Hampshire Primaries
Most New Hampshire polls close at 7:00 PM Eastern Time, with the remainder closing at 8:00 PM. Live results will be available on this page after that time. Reload for the latest totals.
New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont are the only two states where governor serve for two years instead of four. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is seeking a 2nd term. He will face the Democratic primary winner, either former State Sen. Molly Kelly or Steve Marchand, the former Mayor of Portsmouth. Marchand ran for governor in 2016, losing the Democratic primary. There has been no recent polling. Sununu will start out the favorite against whichever Democrat wins.
New Hampshire House Primaries
The state has two congressional districts, both held by Democrats. District 1 is particularly competitive in general elections. That district alternated between Democrat Carol Shea-Porter and Republican Frank Guinta in the four elections from 2010 through 2016. In 2016, Shea-Porter bested Guinta by about 1.3%, while Donald Trump won here by 1.6%. It was one of just 12 districts nationwide that elected a Democrat while voting for the president.
Neither Shea-Porter or Guinta are running in 2018, with the open seat generating a very crowded primary field in both parties. Most of the Democratic establishment has endorsed New Hampshire Executive Council member Chris Pappas. The notable exception is Rep. Shea-Porter, who has gotten behind her former chief of staff Naomi Andrews. Pappas and Maura Sullivan, a former Marine captain and Pentagon official, are the frontrunners, although Andrews is also in the mix. Levi Sanders, son of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is also on the ballot. On the Republican side, State Sen. Andy Sanborn or Eddie Edwards, a former police chief, seem to have the best chance to move on.
Democratic incumbent Rep. Ann Kuster is likely to win a fourth term regardless of which Republican is nominated in the 2nd district.
DeSantis recently won the Republican nomination for governor, helped along by the strong support of President Trump. He will meet Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in one of the marquee races this November. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) is termed out; he is running for Senate against incumbent Sen. Ben Nelson (D).
DeSantis was in his third term representing Florida's 6th congressional district; he and Trump both won here by about 17% in 2016. The district is seen as likely to stay in Republican hands, although it could prove more competitive if there's a strong Democratic wave. The party nominees are Republican Michael Waltz and Democrat Nancy Soderberg.