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Commentary By Kyle Kondik

Most Recent Releases

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October 15, 2020

Election 2020: A Fortnight and Five Days Away By Kyle Kondik

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— With 19 days to go before the election, Joe Biden’s lead in the presidential race remains steady, although his national lead is bigger than his leads in the most crucial swing states.

— In the Senate, Republicans appear to be getting some traction against Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), although Peters remains favored in our ratings. Overall, the Senate battlefield continues to expand, with Republicans having to play more defense in places like Alaska and Kansas.

— Eight House rating changes largely benefit Democrats.

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October 8, 2020

With Just Weeks to Go, Trump is Not Making up Ground By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Rating changes in Electoral College, Senate, Governor, and House.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Recent rosy polling for Joe Biden in the presidential race may represent an artificial sugar high for the challenger.

— But at this point, Donald Trump needs to be making up ground — not treading water or falling further behind.

— 11 rating changes across four categories of races (president, Senate, House, and governor) almost exclusively benefit Democrats.

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October 1, 2020

Biden Lead Looks Firmer as Midwest Moves His Way By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Challenger edges over 270; rating changes for Senate, House.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— With the first debate now in the books, we have close to 20 rating changes across the Electoral College, Senate, and House.

— Joe Biden is now over 270 electoral votes in our ratings as we move several Midwestern states in his favor.

— Changes in the battle for Congress benefit Democrats almost exclusively. We’re moving two Senate races in their direction, as well as several House contests.

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September 24, 2020

States of Play: Ohio By Kyle Kondik

After Trump maxed out the Buckeye State’s rural areas and small town areas, can Biden max out the suburbs?

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Ohio insiders believe that the state is closer than last time, and that Donald Trump is struggling mightily in suburban areas.

— Still, Ohio should vote considerably to the right of the nation, thanks to its high percentage of white voters who don’t have a four-year college degree — a strong group for Trump — and its smaller-than-average nonwhite population, a group that is very Democratic.

— Suburban areas in general, and the Cincinnati and Dayton areas in particular, would likely be a key part of a Biden path to victory. But Trump is still better-positioned to win the state.

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September 3, 2020

Presidential Expectations and the Race for the House By Kyle Kondik

That the public is less confident in Biden’s chances than the polls could have a down-ballot impact; 14 House rating changes.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Perceptions of the presidential race could have some impact down the ballot.

— Ticket-splitting is on the decline, but plenty of voters will vote for different parties for president and House, perhaps to the benefit of candidates from both parties.

— We are making 14 House rating changes, 10 in favor of Democrats and four in favor of Republicans. The changes don’t really impact our overall House assessment, which is that we are not expecting much net change in the makeup of the House.

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July 23, 2020

House Rating Changes By Kyle Kondik

Eight shifts, almost all benefiting Democrats.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Recently-released fundraising reports indicate a mismatch between the best-funded GOP candidates and the districts in which they are competing.

— At this point, Democrats are more likely to net House seats than Republicans, although we’re still not expecting much net change overall.

— There are eight rating changes this week: seven in favor of Democrats, one in favor of Republicans.

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July 14, 2020

The Electoral College: The Fringe of the Map Expands By Kyle Kondik

If Trump’s numbers don’t improve, some surprising states could come into play.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— President Trump’s position has been perilously weak for a month and a half.

— With Joe Biden’s national lead around eight to 10 points, there is a possibility that he could compete for some usually Republican states.

— We are moving seven states from Safe Republican to Likely Republican.

— Our current ratings represent something of a hedge between a Trump comeback and Biden maintaining or expanding his large national lead.

— We also are moving the Missouri gubernatorial race from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.

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July 2, 2020

The House: Democratic Murmurings in the Texas Suburbs – and Elsewhere By Kyle Kondik

11 rating changes, most in favor of Democrats.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Joe Biden’s currently strong lead in the presidential race is being felt in the suburbs, which if it lasts could imperil Republicans in some of their formerly dark red turf.

— Texas merits special attention, where as many as 10 Republican-held House seats could become vulnerable if Trump were to lose the state.

— We have 11 House rating changes, 10 of which benefit Democrats.

— Democrats remain favored to retain their House majority.

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June 25, 2020

The Electoral College: Trump’s Floodgates are Creaking By Kyle Kondik

Florida, Pennsylvania shift toward Biden, but he’s still shy of the magic number 270 in our ratings.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— We are making two Electoral College rating changes this week.

— Florida moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up, and Pennsylvania moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic.

— This means 268 electoral votes are rated as at least leaning to Joe Biden in our ratings; 204 are at least leaning to Donald Trump; and there are 66 electoral votes in the Toss-up category.

— Biden is decently positioned, although his current lead may be inflated.

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June 18, 2020

Our Revamped VP Rankings By Kyle Kondik J. Miles Coleman and Larry J. Sabato

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice enter our list of Joe Biden’s vice presidential contenders.

— Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) drops off.

— The top names remain the same.

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June 11, 2020

Notes on the State of Politics By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

VP omissions; recapping Tuesday’s primaries

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) seems to be rising in the Biden veepstakes.

— Late Wednesday, Jon Ossoff (D) apparently captured the Democratic nomination to face Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), thus avoiding a runoff.

— Primaries in South Carolina and West Virginia saw protest voting in some key races.

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June 4, 2020

The Veepstakes: Handicapping Biden’s Choices By Kyle Kondik J. Miles Coleman and Larry J. Sabato

Harris, Demings leads our list of contenders; Biden is wise to wait on making his pick.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Joe Biden should not be in a rush to name his vice presidential pick. Circumstances may change his list of contenders — and probably already have.

— A predictable name leads our list, but a not-so predictable name is second.

— Biden has many plausible options, but no perfect one.

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May 21, 2020

Trump-Pence: The Ticket That Seems (Almost) Certain for a 2020 Reprise By Kyle Kondik

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— History, and the president’s own public statements, suggest that the Trump-Pence ticket will stick together in 2020.

— The last time an elected president running for reelection changed his running mate was Franklin Roosevelt way back in 1944.

— But there are some reasons to believe that Trump could revisit his running mate choice between now and the Republican National Convention.

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May 14, 2020

Why 2020’s Third Party Share Should Be Lower Than 2016 By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

When sizing up the 2020 election, it is natural for campaign pros and analysts to consider the kinds of voters who might defect from their 2016 selection. Can Joe Biden claw back some small but important share of the Barack Obama voters who defected to Donald Trump? Can Trump stop his party’s slide in the suburbs?

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May 7, 2020

The State of the States: The Governors By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Vulnerable incumbents get a boost in the midst of crisis.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Many state governors have received high marks for their handling of coronavirus.

— Three of them on the ballot this November get a boost in our gubernatorial ratings this week.

— As of now, the open seat in Montana seems to be the seat likeliest to change hands on the relatively sparse presidential-year gubernatorial map.

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April 30, 2020

The Senate: Looking Beyond the “Core Four” By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

There is a widespread consensus that, in the battle for the Senate, there are four races that may effectively decide the majority.

Dubbed the “core four” by one operative, the races in Republican-held Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina are the ones that the Democrats seem to have the best chance of flipping. (For sports fans, the “core four” term may ring a bell: It describes the four players at the heart of the New York Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s.)

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April 23, 2020

The Democrats’ House Polling Lead: Remarkably Steady By Kyle Kondik

Generic ballot, money edge point to retained blue majority; seven rating changes.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— The Democratic lead in House generic ballot polling has been very consistent over the course of Donald Trump’s presidency.

— Democrats also have a significant money edge in the lion’s share of their most vulnerable districts. Money is not everything, but it can help.

— We have seven House rating changes, four in favor of Republicans and three in favor of Democrats.

— Put it all together, and Democrats remain favored to hold their House majority.

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April 16, 2020

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Race: Don’t Project it Forward to the Fall By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Wisconsin is one of perhaps the two or three likeliest states to vote for the winning presidential candidate this fall, so it is no surprise that anything that happens politically in the Badger State attracts widespread attention.

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April 9, 2020

The Next Big Special Election: CA-25 By Kyle Kondik

Top-two primary results generally decent for Democrats, but a May special election held amidst uncertainty of the pandemic could give Republicans a chance to make up a little ground in California.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— Democrats netted seven House seats in California in 2018, winning 46 of the megastate’s 53 seats.

— The state’s top-two primary election system can provide clues for the fall. With results almost entirely complete, none of the newly-elected Democrats appear to be in serious trouble, although a few are definitely vulnerable.

— A special election in CA-25 in May might provide Republicans with their best opportunity to claw back some of their lost California turf. We’re moving our rating there from Leans Democratic to Toss-up.

— We also are upgrading a couple of the few remaining GOP-held seats in California to Safe Republican.

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April 2, 2020

Rating Changes: Electoral College and Senate By Kyle Kondik

Democrats edge slightly ahead, but presidential race still a Toss-up; upper chamber battle gets closer; governors face what likely will be the biggest test of their tenures.