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Commentary By Kyle Kondik

Most Recent Releases

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July 22, 2021

Redistricting in America, Part One: Gerrymandering Potency Raises the Stakes for the 2020s By Kyle Kondik


— While partisan gerrymandering is nothing new in American politics, it has become easier to find examples of states where gerrymanders are consistently effective and harder to find examples of “dummymanders” — gerrymanders that fail.

— Republicans control the drawing of more districts in this round of decennial redistricting than Democrats do.

— Democrats arguably would be better off if no states had bipartisan/independent redistricting commissions.

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June 24, 2021

The States: Recent Candidate Decisions Could Lead to More One-Party Rule By Kyle Kondik

A look at who controls statewide executive offices across the country.


— Currently, one party controls all of the statewide elected executive offices in 36 of the 50 states.

— Candidate decisions by down-ballot executive officeholders in Florida and Missouri could make Republican statewide sweeps easier in those states, and Democrats may have opportunities to sweep more states on their side.

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June 17, 2021

The New York City Mayoral Primary By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Breaking down the political geography of the nation’s largest city as voters digest a crowded and sometimes crazy campaign.


— New York City’s mayors have struggled in their recent efforts to win higher office, but they often become national figures anyway on account of their high-profile position.

— Ranked-choice voting as well as the many twists and turns of the race makes it difficult to predict a winner in next week’s Democratic primary.

— Republicans can win mayoral elections in New York, but the Democratic primary may very well end up being tantamount to election.

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May 27, 2021

The Senate: Sununu’s Vital Choice By Kyle Kondik

The New Hampshire governor’s decision looms large over the 2022 map.


— Even as Senate elections become more and more about a state’s presidential partisanship, the individual decisions of candidates matter a lot. There are a number of important candidate choices that helped define recent Senate cycles.

— Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R-NH) decision as to whether he will challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) could be the most important candidate choice of the 2022 cycle.

— While Republicans will target vulnerable Democrats in states that are more competitive at the presidential level than New Hampshire, they very well may struggle to produce a candidate in those states as proven as Sununu.

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May 20, 2021

The House: Democrats Would Have a Tough Slog Even Without Redistricting By Kyle Kondik

Our hypothetical ratings of House 2022 if no district lines changed.


— The reapportionment of House seats and pending redistricting has prevented us from releasing U.S. House ratings so far this cycle.

— While Republicans stand to gain from this process, they would be favored to win the House even if the district lines were not changing.

— Rating the House races based on the current lines shows many more Democratic seats in the Toss-up column than Republican ones. These hypothetical ratings are guided by developments in the 2022 campaign so far as well as the normal tendency for the president’s party to lose ground in the House in midterms.

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April 22, 2021

Checking in on Biden’s Approval Rating as Hundred Days’ Mark Nears By Kyle Kondik

Steady on average, but individual pollsters vary greatly.


— Joe Biden’s approval rating has been steady and positive, though many other presidents had better early numbers.

— The “honeymoons” of past presidents may have been stronger because of a less partisanized and polarized electorate.

— Individual national pollsters disagree on Biden’s approval rating.

— Some pollsters who were overly bullish on Biden in the national popular vote last year are a little bearish on him now.

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April 15, 2021

The Mini-Midterms: Five Takeaways from Six Decades of House Special Elections By Kyle Kondik

Races often break against president’s party; winners rarely lose next election.


— There have been nearly 300 U.S. House special elections since the mid-1950s.

— These elections more often flipped against the party that holds the White House — just like what often happens to the president’s party in midterm House elections — but the president’s party has scored some noteworthy wins, too, which can cloud the predictive value of special elections.

— Special election winners rarely lose their next election, but it does happen.

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March 25, 2021

The House: Unclear Lines, Clear Expectations By Kyle Kondik

Redistricting delays cloud the seat-by-seat picture, but midterm history suggests a Republican edge.


— Delays in the redistricting process mean that we won’t be releasing Crystal Ball House district ratings for the foreseeable future.

— However, midterm history along with GOP advantages in redistricting make the Republicans clear, though not certain, favorites to win the House next year.

— Recent midterm history helps illustrate some of the Democratic vulnerabilities if this cycle breaks against the White House, as it did in the past four midterms.

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January 20, 2021

As Biden Takes Office, Trump’s Shadow is Inescapable – at Least for Now By Kyle Kondik


— Even as a new president is inaugurated today, the outgoing president looms large.

— As Senate Republicans ponder how to vote in the Trump impeachment trial, they may be incentivized to move the party past Trump as they seek to recapture power in Washington next year.

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January 14, 2021

The Objectors Versus the Rejecters By Kyle Kondik

Analyzing how House Republicans voted in last week’s Electoral College disputes.


— Roughly two-thirds of House Republicans backed at least one of two objections to a state’s presidential results last week. And a clear majority backed both.

— Generally speaking, members who backed both objections come from more Republican-leaning districts than those who opposed both.

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December 10, 2020

How the States Voted Relative to the Nation By Kyle Kondik

Republicans retain an edge in the Electoral College.


— Joe Biden did better than Hillary Clinton in the lion’s share of states.

— However, when one takes into account how the states voted relative to the nation, Republicans retain an edge in the Electoral College.

— Despite voting for Biden, key battleground states such as Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin all became more Republican relative to the national voting. Biden did solidify a number of the Clinton-won states, though, most notably Minnesota and New Hampshire.

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November 19, 2020

Senate 2022: An Early Look By Kyle Kondik

Democrats may ultimately have a better shot to win the Senate than the House in two years, although winning either will be challenging.


— Democrats may have a better chance of winning the Senate in 2022 than holding the House, even if Democrats lose both Georgia special elections in January.

— The president’s party often struggles in midterms, which gives the GOP a generic advantage in the battle for Congress.

— The Republicans’ three most vulnerable Senate seats may all be open in 2022.

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November 12, 2020

Notes on the State of the 2020 Election By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Biden’s thin margins in the decisive states; third party vote declines; Senate aligns more closely with presidential partisanship; Republicans demonstrate down-ballot crossover appeal.


— Joe Biden is on track to exceed Barack Obama’s 2012 popular vote margin, but his victory in the key states is even narrower than Donald Trump’s in 2016.

— Less than 2% of the national vote went to candidates other than Biden and Trump, a significant change from 2016.

— Assuming nothing changes, as many as 94 of 100 senators in the next Congress will share the same party as the state’s presidential winner.

— The ability to generate crossover support helped Republicans perform surprisingly well in both Senate and House races.

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October 29, 2020

Georgia’s Senate Races Both Move to Toss-up By Kyle Kondik

And how we’re thinking about the presidential race with five days to go.


— Georgia’s two Senate races move to Toss-up.

— They may be the only two races we leave in Toss-up when we release our final election picks on Monday.

— The concept of Occam’s Razor — the idea that the simplest explanation is sometimes the likeliest explanation — might be a useful framework to use when assessing the presidential race.

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October 15, 2020

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


— 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.


— 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.


— 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?


— 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.


— 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.


— 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.