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2018 Midterm Election Odds: Is Trump in for a Huge Surprise?

Don Aguero

by Don Aguero in Politics News

Updated Feb 7, 2019 · 1:39 PM PST

Mitch McConnell is confident the Republicans can improve their standing in the Senate after the Midterms
Mitch McConnell is confident the Republicans can improve their standing in the Senate after the Midterms. Photo by Gage Skidmore (Flickr) [CC License].
  • The 2018 midterms will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6th.
  • The Democrats are expected to flip the House; the Republicans are expected to hold the Senate.
  • Will everything go as expected or are we in for another surprise?

It’s finally here. The 2018 midterms are less than a week away and both the Democrats and Republicans are preparing for a final push. If all goes as expected, the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate while the Democrats flip the House.

But if 2016 taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t chalk up election results before the polls close. Voter turnout is expected to be unusually high and there are toss-up races in both chambers of Congress.

Feel like making a few prop bets? Here are a few to consider.

2018 Midterm Prop Bets

Odds to win key Senate races

State Democrat Republican
Nevada 1/1 1/1
Arizona 43/57 57/43
Florida 3/7 7/3
Indiana 3/7 7/3
Missouri 2/3 3/2
North Dakota 3/1 1/3
Texas 4/1 1/4

The vast majority of Senate races are completely noncompetitive. There are only a handful of seats with a real shot at changing hands. Jeff Flake’s (R) vacated seat in Arizona and Dean Heller’s (R) seat in Nevada are the two big ones to watch. The polls have them both as a dead heat, and they would each be painful losses for the Republicans.

Joe Donnelly (D) of Indianna, Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri, and Bill Nelson (D) of Florida are at risk of being unseated on November 6th. All three Democrats are leading in the polls, but their Republican opponents aren’t far behind.

Heidi Heitkamp (D) of North Dakota will probably lose her seat to her Republican challenger, Kevin Cramer. That’s a tough loss for the Dems, who are already starting at a severe disadvantage. There’s been a lot of attention on Texas, where Ted Cruz (R) is at risk of losing the unlosable, though the polls have Cruz ahead the dashing Beto O’Rourke by a consistent margin.

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116th United States Congress props

Prop Odds
Over/Under total number of Senate seats that flip 3.5
Over/Under Republican controlled seats in the Senate 51.5
Odds a Senate race is forced to go to a recount 5/1

Most forecasters believe that a 51-49 breakdown in favor of the Republicans is the most likely outcome, meaning that the makeup of the 116th Senate is expected to remain unchanged. Due to the lopsided nature of the upcoming midterms, the Republicans have far more chances to improve their standing than the Democrats.

With a few states split evenly down the middle, there’s a decent chance that at least one will be forced to go to a recount. Arizona and Nevada are the two most likely to be too close to call.

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Over/Unders on voter demographics

Increase in voter turnout since the 2014 midterm elections Over/Under
Overall +30%
Women +35%
Black +30%
Hispanic +30%
College Educated Whites +5%
Republicans -15%
Democrats +50%
Independents +10%
Texans +30%
Georgians +30%
Missouri +50%
Under 30s +35%
Silicon Valley Residents +5%

Voter turnout for the 2014 midterms was the lowest in 70 years. A mere 36.4% of eligible voters cast their ballots, a 12% decrease from 2010. Midterms always suffer from low turnout compared to General Elections, but 2014 was especially dismal.

The early voting numbers suggest a swing in the opposite direction in 2018. The Democratic base is extremely energized and many Trump backers are also eager to support the President.

Midterms always suffer from low turnout compared to General Elections, but 2014 was especially dismal.

The key demographic to watch is women. Trump is deeply unpopular among American women, and there is an unprecedented number of female Democrats running for office. Especially after the Brett Kavanaugh fiasco, the female vote could spike and swing heavily away from the Republicans.

The youth vote has been notoriously unreliable, especially during midterms. But this time could be different. Trump is deeply unpopular among millennials, and younger voters are much more likely to be registered Democrats. The question is whether the youth of America will express themselves at the ballot box.

The minority vote is another key demographic for the Democrats. Both black and hispanic Americans are far more likely to vote blue, but their turnout is consistently lower than the national average.

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Trump’s Twitter fingers

Prop Over/Under
Number of Donald Trump Tweets on Nov 6. 5.5

We don’t know which way the House or Senate will go, but we can be sure that Trump will have something to say about it.

Donald Trump sends a tweet mentioning the following people on Nov 6-7 Odds
Chuck Schumer 1/1
Nancy Pelosi 1/1
Barack Obama 4/1
Hillary Clinton 5/1

Pelosi and Schumer are most likely to be on the receiving end of Trump’s twitter rampages on November 6th, win or lose. And then there’s always old trusty targets like Obama and Hillary.

Keep Twitter open on election night.

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The app economy

Prop Over/Under
Number of rides to polling stations provided by Uber and Lyft 2.5 million
Average wait time for a ride via Uber/Lyft on election day 15 minutes
Number of voters registered through Snapchat 550,000

Apps are now a part of everything we do. That includes voting. Snapchat has begun registering voters, and ride-share companies will be offering free or discounted trips to the polls. By 2020, Google will have automated both chambers of Congress.

By registering voters, Snapchat is increasing turnout among young voters who would otherwise stay home on election day. And Uber and Lyft will be providing a much-needed service to many Americans since some polling stations are far outside the city limits.

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Thank you speeches

A winning candidate thanks the following in their victory addresses/tweets Odds
Christine Blasey Ford 15/1
Parkland Student Activists 25/1
Oprah 30/1
Taylor Swift 35/1
Will Ferrell 40/1
Snapchat 50/1
George Soros 250/1
Russia 250/1

Last and definitely least, the “thank you” speeches, a.k.a. the generic victory speeches no one really cares about. There’s plenty of thanks to go around, especially if the Democrats win. They’ve had a ton of help from celebrities and prominent figures across the nation.

Oprah and Will Ferrell have been literally knocking on doors for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Taylor Swift tripled early voter numbers in Tennessee. And Barack Obama has been rallying Democrats to get out and vote. It’s all hands on deck!

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