What a predictive model tells us about the last decade of results, as well as 2022
KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE
— Senate elections have become firmly yoked to their state’s presidential leanings.
— Democrats now hold a tiny Senate majority in large part because of their superior performance in otherwise Republican-leaning states, a performance they may find difficult to sustain because of deepening partisan polarization.
— Based on the fundamentals of state partisanship, incumbency, and the national political environment, Republicans have a good chance to pick up at least a seat and take back control of the upper chamber. But poor candidates could hurt their chances, as they have in some other recent Senate races.
Democratic share of the Latino vote has been highly variable from election to election.
KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE
— One key question in American politics is the trajectory of Latino voters. Donald Trump performed better in 2020 with Latino voters than he did in 2016, particularly in places like South Texas and South Florida.
— However, an analysis of the longer-term trend in Latino presidential voting shows that this growing voting bloc is not necessarily trending one way or the other.
— Presidential incumbency appears to have a stronger influence on Latino voters than on other demographic groups.
-- Based on presidential voting patterns, a much larger proportion of U.S. House districts strongly favor one party and a much smaller proportion are closely divided than 50 years ago.
-- However, gerrymandering is not the major reason for this trend. Partisan polarization has increased dramatically in U.S. states and counties, whose boundaries have not changed.
-- Moreover, despite the growing partisan divide evident in presidential voting, the competitiveness of House elections has changed very little over the past 5 decades because the personal advantage of incumbency has declined sharply during this period.
— National House generic ballot polling can be a useful tool in projecting the overall results of House and Senate elections.
— The president’s party often loses ground in midterms, but the magnitude of those losses varies greatly depending on the national political environment and the seats held by each party prior to the election.
— A model using the generic ballot and seat exposure shows that a single digit lead on the generic ballot would give Democrats a good chance to keep control of the Senate. Given the expected impact of redistricting, however, Democrats probably need a larger lead to keep control of the House.
— “Medicare for All” has been a major issue in the Democratic primary race. But it also came up a lot in the 2018 cycle.
— A regression analysis comparing the performance of 2018 Democratic House candidates shows that those who supported Medicare for All performed worse than those who did not, even when controlling for other factors.
— Democratic presidential candidates would do well to take heed of these results, particularly as the eventual nominee determines what he or she wishes to emphasize in the general election.
— Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s recent testimony was a reminder that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and very well may try to do so again in 2020.
— This begs the question: Is there any evidence that Russian interference may have impacted the results, particularly in key states?
— The following analysis suggests that the 2016 results can be explained almost entirely based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states. So from that standpoint, the answer seems to be no.
The author’s “time for change” presidential forecasting model has a successful track record of projecting presidential elections. In 2016, it showed Donald Trump as a favorite to win the national popular vote. Though Trump ultimately lost the popular vote while winning the Electoral College, the model presented an early indication that Trump was more than capable of winning the 2016 election.
In my book, The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation and the Rise of Donald Trump, I argue that the United States has entered a new era of electoral competition in the 21st century. The most important characteristics of 21st century elections are partisan polarization and nationalized elections, and the results of the 2018 House elections provide striking evidence of both. The outcomes of House contests in 2018 were overwhelmingly determined by two factors — the partisan composition of House districts and the unpopularity of President Trump in many of those districts, including some that had supported him in 2016.
There is a growing sense among political observers that the United States may be heading toward a wave election in 2018. Results of recent special elections, including Doug Jones’ (D) victory in the Alabama Senate race on Tuesday, along with Democratic victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections and surprisingly large Democratic gains in the Virginia House of Delegates all point toward the likelihood of substantial Democratic gains in next year’s midterm elections, including a real possibility that Democrats could regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, results of recent generic ballot polling generally show large Democratic l
In addition to the entire U.S. House of Representatives and about one-third of the U.S. Senate, Americans will be choosing 36 state governors in 2018. Control of statehouses is crucial not only because many important policy decisions are made at the state level, but because the governors elected next year will, in many cases, play key roles in redrawing congressional and state legislative district lines after the 2020 census.
Results of recent special elections have fueled speculation about whether Democrats have a realistic chance to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. Although Republican candidates have won recent special elections for seats vacated by President Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointees in Georgia, Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina, the GOP victory margins in all four contests have been much smaller than those for the former Republican incumbents in 2016.
Since the conclusion of the Republican and Democratic national conventions last month, pundits, political reporters, and ordinary Americans have, for understandable reasons, been preoccupied with developments in the presidential campaign. And the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump has certainly provided plenty of material for serious political observers as well as late night comics. With the presidential contest getting so much coverage in the national media, however, much less attention has been devoted to the critical battle for control of the next Congress. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, whether Republicans or Democrats control the House and Senate will have enormous consequences for the direction of the country and the ability of the next president to carry out his or her agenda.