Numbers Suggest Democrats Are Not Currently Set to Take Back the House of Representatives


In order to take back the House of Representatives in November 2018, Democrats will almost certainly have to run the table in 40 competitive contests, none of which currently suggest certain or near certain Democratic wins. Democrats could, in a reasonably realistic scenario, win all 40 of the races in the first chart below and find themselves in a virtual stalemate with a razor thin 218-217 advantage over House Republicans. In such a situation, illness, death, incapacity, resignation, party switching, or failure to reach absolute party unanimity on any particular issue could mean continuing GOP control over fundamental decision making in all three branches of national government.

As indicated in the chart, twenty-six of the 40 are seats currently or most recently held by Republicans. Fourteen are seats held by Democrats where their most recent margin of victory was less than six percentage points, Donald Trump garnered more votes in the district than Hillary Clinton, or both. In two of the fourteen races in currently blue constituencies (NV-03, NH-01), the Democratic incumbent won in 2016 by less than a point and a half, Trump won more votes than Clinton, and the incumbent is not standing for re-election.

The fourteen currently projected toss-ups include eleven seats currently or most recently held by Republicans and three by Democrats. The eighteen D-Lean seats break down into twelve currently held by the GOP and six by Dems. Of six D-Likely seats, five are currently…

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