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Commentary By Kyle Kondik

Most Recent Releases

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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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— 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

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.