Odds Have Democrats Gaining Majority of the US House of Representatives
- A third of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives is up for reelection in just three weeks on November 6th
- The Democrats are sweating bullets when it comes to the Senate, but they’re hopeful for the House
- Are the Dems right to be optimistic or will this be a repeat of 2016?
Just three weeks remain until the Midterms, and the House is where the excitement is for the Democrats. While the Senate race is heavily stacked against them, the House is theirs to win. The Dems have out-raised their Republican colleagues, their base is more excited to vote, and the President remains deeply unpopular on a national level.
All this points to a so-called Blue Wave. But this is hardly a done deal. The Democrats are battling a district map that heavily favors the Republicans and the Kavanaugh fiasco may have riled up Trump supporters enough to bring them to the polls. Here’s where the race for the House currently stands.
2018 House Midterm Odds
|2018 US House of Representatives Election – Majority Outcome||Odds|
|No Overall Majority||+5000|
The fact that so many pundits are talking about the House race as if it’s some kind of shoo-in for the Democrats gives me flashbacks of the 2016 election. The Dems are well-positioned to reclaim the House on November 6th, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.
The Republicans currently hold a wide 235-193 majority in the House, meaning the Democrats will need to flip at least 24 seats in order to flip the lower chamber. That may sound like good news for Trump, but previous Presidents have lost far more seats. Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats to the Republicans in 1994, George W. Bush lost 31 to the Dems in 2006, and Obama gave up an eye-watering 63 in 2010.
Bill Clinton lost 54 House seats to the Republicans in 1994, George W. Bush lost 31 to the Dems in 2006, and Obama gave up an eye-watering 63 in 2010.
Since the House district maps are gerrymandered to high heaven, it’s predicted that the Democrats will need to win the popular vote by 5-7% in order to win a majority of House seats. That’s a steep climb, but they’re on track to meet, if not exceed, that target.
The Midterms are largely a referendum on the President, and Donald Trump has wallowed in the high-30’s to low-40’s since taking office. Previous Presidents have taken a beating in the midterms and Trump could suffer a similar fate.
Another factor to consider is the sheer number of Republican representatives who have chosen not to seek reelection. A whopping 37 Republican House members have either chosen to seek another position or simply retire. Among those retiring is House speaker Paul Ryan.
The Democrats will almost definitely improve on their House numbers this Midterm, but do they have a path to make a net gain of at least 24 seats?
Previous Presidents have taken a beating in the midterms and Trump could suffer a similar fate.
12 Republican seats are expected to flip, and 28 are widely considered to be tossups. There are only two Democratic seats in Minnesota that are considered tossups, and other than that, the Democrats aren’t in much danger of losing seats.
The odds for a Democratic Majority (-220) are quite short, which may reflect a little too much confidence in the Democrats. The 2016 election should have taught us to take political forecasts with a grain of salt. Still, there’s just enough value in picking a Democratic Majority.
Pick: Democratic Majority (-220)
2018 Midterm Election Odds: Picking Both Chambers
|2018 Midterm Elections – Exact Outcome||Odds|
|Dem House / GOP Senate||-145|
|GOP House / GOP Senate||+170|
|Dem House / Dem Senate||+650|
|GOP House / Dem Senate||+5000|
It looks like the most probable outcome is that the Republicans hold onto the Senate but lose the House (-145). That seems like a reasonable bet. The Senate race greatly favors the Republicans, and the House usually swings in favor of the opposition during midterms.
It might also be worth sprinkling a few pennies on GOP House / Dem Senate (+5000). In these bizarro times, why the hell not? It wouldn’t be the first time the pollsters and forecasters completely mangled an election prediction.
Pick: Dem House / GOP Senate (-145)