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Commentary By Kyle Kondik

Most Recent Releases

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September 21, 2023

The Battle for the Virginia State Legislature, Part One By Kyle Kondik

Democratic presidential lean muted in lower-turnout legislative races, but political environment appears to be different than 2021.


— In this year’s state legislative races in Virginia, Republicans are trying to do something that has become rare: forge a state government trifecta in a state that voted for the other party for president.

— At first blush, Democrats would appear to have a clear edge on the map, but in an off-year election, the key districts’ presidential voting patterns overstate how Democratic they are in these legislative races.

— While President Biden’s approval rating is actually worse than it was in November 2021, when Republicans scored victories in that year’s Virginia races, the political environment is likely better for Democrats now than it was back then.

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September 7, 2023

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part Two By Kyle Kondik

Trend from 1996-2020 shows a much larger partisan gap between bigger and smaller counties, with 2000 and 2016 as key contributors.


— The presidential voting gap between the nation’s most populous counties and the rest of the nation has nearly tripled from 1996 to 2020.

— The 2000 and 2016 elections were the biggest contributors to this gap.

— While there is nearly a 40-point difference between the top and bottom halves, the gap did not grow from 2016-2020.

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August 10, 2023

Ohio’s Issue 1 Smackdown By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The left scores another win in an abortion rights proxy fight; apparent turnout and persuasion edge drives Democratic success.


— The pro-abortion rights/Democratic side won yet another fight related to abortion rights on Tuesday night, this time in red-trending Ohio.

— Turnout was robust and likely advantaged the Democratic side. Voter participation was relatively poor across Appalachia, a once-competitive area that has become extremely Republican in recent years.

— Issue 1 seemed particularly unpopular in some usually red suburban counties, although we have to remember that ballot issues and partisan races are different and that Republicans are still in a strong position in Ohio.

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August 3, 2023

How the Other Half Votes: The United States, Part One By Kyle Kondik

Just 151 out of 3,100+ counties cast half the national vote; gap between top and bottom half expanding.


— Just about 150 of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties cast half of the nation’s presidential vote in 2020.

— As we typically see at the state level, the more vote-rich counties are more Democratic, while the thousands of smaller counties that make up the bottom half are more Republican.

— This political gulf has widened. Despite similar overall national presidential margins in 2012 and 2020, the difference between the top and bottom halves expanded about 10 points from 2012 to 2020.

— Joe Biden won 126 of the 151 top half counties, while Donald Trump won 2,548 of the remaining 2,960 counties in the bottom half.

— Trump’s wins among the top half counties were concentrated among the smaller pieces of that group — Biden won all but one of the nearly 50 counties that cast 500,000 votes or more.

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July 27, 2023

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

Trump’s beer and wine combo helps him maintain a big primary lead; Alabama’s redistricting machinations.

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July 26, 2023

The Dwindling Crossover Governorships By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Sununu’s retirement, other factors could reduce the number of split presidential/gubernatorial results.


— Despite an increasing correlation between presidential and down-ballot results, there are still nine governors who govern states that their party did not win for president. That means there is a higher percentage of crossover governors than crossover members of the Senate and House.

— Still, the number of crossover governors was higher in the recent past.

— While there are lots of moving pieces, including what happens in the 2024 presidential election, we could see even more of a decline in the number of crossover governors in this cycle’s gubernatorial elections.

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July 13, 2023

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

Reichert gives Washington GOP a real gubernatorial recruit; retreads abound in House races.

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June 29, 2023

Electoral College Ratings: Expect Another Highly Competitive Election By Kyle Kondik

Small edge to Democrats but neither side over 270 to start.


— Our initial 2024 Electoral College ratings start with just four Toss-up states.

— Democrats start with a small advantage, although both sides begin south of what they need to win.

— We consider a rematch of the 2020 election — Joe Biden versus Donald Trump — as the likeliest matchup, but not one that is set in stone.

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June 15, 2023

Pumping the Brakes Post-Milligan By Kyle Kondik

Surveying the redistricting picture after the Supreme Court’s unexpected decision.


— The Supreme Court’s Allen v. Milligan decision should give Democrats at least a little help in their quest to re-take the House majority, but much remains uncertain.

— As of now, the Democrats’ best bets to add a seat in 2024 are in Alabama, the subject of the ruling, and Louisiana.

— It also adds to the list of potential mid-decade redistricting changes, which have happened with regularity over the past half-century.

— The closely-contested nature of the House raises the stakes of each state’s map, and redistricting changes do not necessarily have to be prompted by courts.

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April 27, 2023

How the Other Half Votes: Manchin and Tester’s Challenge By Kyle Kondik

Democratic Senate coalitions in red presidential states Montana and West Virginia.


— Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) are outliers in Congress — no other Senate or House member holds a state/district that is more hostile to his or her party at the presidential level than this pair.

— Montana and especially West Virginia are deeply Republican at the presidential level, and while Manchin and Tester have clearly run way ahead of Democratic presidential performance in recent years, changes at the presidential level are reflected in their own coalitions.

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April 13, 2023

How the Other Half Votes: The Southwest By Kyle Kondik

Why Texas still leans Republican, and comparing Arizona versus Nevada.


— We’re continuing our series of looking at how the most vote-rich counties in a state vote versus those that make up the rest of the state by moving to the Southwest.

— The region contains the key swing states of Arizona and Nevada, both of which are dominated by a single county that casts well north of half the statewide vote.

— Both the top and bottom halves of Texas have moved toward the Democrats from 2012-2020, but the top half just is not blue enough at the moment.

— Colorado and New Mexico have moved out of the swing state category, pushed by top-half shifts.

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April 6, 2023

How the Other Half Votes: The East By Kyle Kondik

The presidential trends from Pennsylvania to Florida.


— After looking at the Midwest last week, we’re comparing the presidential voting trajectory of the bigger counties versus the rest of the state in a number of eastern states.

— Georgia had exactly opposite top and bottom halves in 2020, with a very Republican (but stable) bottom half and Democratic-trending top half driven by changes in Atlanta.

— North Carolina and Pennsylvania are mirror images on opposite sides of the political divide.

— Florida’s turn toward the Republicans has been a bit more pronounced in its top half of bigger counties compared to its bottom half, making it an outlier among the states we’ve studied.

— South Carolina’s status as a red state is much more about its top half than its bottom half.

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March 30, 2023

How the Other Half Votes By Kyle Kondik

The competing halves of states in the Midwest.


— This piece analyzes recent presidential voting patterns in the Midwest by comparing the big counties that cast roughly half the statewide vote with the smaller counties that cast the rest of the statewide vote.

— In Illinois and Minnesota, more than half of the statewide vote comes from dominant metro areas, and improvements in those areas from 2012 to 2020 allowed Democrats to maintain their strong position in both states.

— The smaller-county halves of Iowa and Ohio have zoomed right, pushing them out of the roster of competitive states.

— The bottom hasn’t dropped out for Democrats in nearly the same way in Michigan and Wisconsin.

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March 9, 2023

The Republican Presidential Primary: Still Early, but Maybe Getting Late By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The field remains unformed, but if DeSantis is the real deal, there’s not much room for other challengers to Trump.


— The calendar year before the presidential primary voting begins is often defined by winnowing, as contenders emerge and then fade.

— But Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are taking up so much oxygen that we may already have the top contenders, with everyone else who runs essentially an afterthought.

— DeSantis is polling well for a non-candidate, but we need to see how he actually performs before assuming that his support is solid.

— If another candidate supplants DeSantis (or Trump), or at least vaults into their stratosphere, don’t necessarily assume it will be someone who is currently well-known now or has a lot of formal political experience.

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March 2, 2023

Republicans Retain Edge in Electoral College Tie By Kyle Kondik

GOP controls bare majority of House delegations and should continue to in the next Congress.


— If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral College votes, the U.S. House of Representatives elected in the 2024 election would decide the presidency.

— Republicans are very likely to continue to control enough House delegations to select the GOP nominee as the winner, meaning that 269 is effectively the winning Electoral College number for Republicans, while it’s 270 for Democrats.

— Republicans currently control 26 of the 50 House delegations, the bare majority to win in the House if the Electoral College does not produce a majority winner.

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February 23, 2023

Initial House Ratings: Battle for Majority Starts as a Toss-up By Kyle Kondik

CA/NY vital for Democratic comeback; new maps in NC/OH could give Republicans a buffer.


— The overall battle for House control in 2024 starts as a Toss-up.

— Relatively similar numbers of Democratic and Republican seats start in the most competitive Toss-up and Leans categories, although Republicans start with a few more targets in large part because of the likelihood that they will benefit from redistricting in North Carolina and Ohio.

— Big blue states California and New York, where Republicans have made key gains over the past couple of cycles, loom large as Democrats plot a path back to the House majority.

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February 9, 2023

The State of Biden’s Next Campaign By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

The president has little real opposition in his own party but remains dependent on weaknesses across the aisle.


— President Biden’s successful State of the Union address suggested he’s full speed ahead on running for a second term.

— Despite polls showing that even many Democrats would prefer Biden not to run again, he has no real opposition within his own party — and the State of the Union is unlikely to help generate any.

— Biden’s best friend is weakness within the Republican Party, which was on display once again on Tuesday night.

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January 5, 2023

The Political Profile of McCarthy’s Detractors Most from uncompetitive districts By Kyle Kondik

Most from uncompetitive districts; recent primary results helped build the anti-McCarthy coalition


-- This article is being published following the adjournment of the House on the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 4 after the body failed to elect a speaker on 6 roll call votes held Tuesday and Wednesday. The House was scheduled to return at 8 p.m. eastern on Wednesday.

-- The 21 Republicans who did not vote for Kevin McCarthy on every roll call generally, but not exclusively, come from uncompetitive districts. They almost all appear to have at least some connection to the House Freedom Caucus, the group of hardline conservatives.

-- Some recent choices by GOP electorates helped strengthen what would become this anti-McCarthy coalition.

-- The longer this goes on, the more need there may be for a creative solution, like we saw in Pennsylvania’s state House speaker election on Tuesday.

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December 15, 2022

The Electoral College in the 21st Century By Kyle Kondik

A brief history of a competitive era.


— The United States is in an extremely competitive era of presidential elections.

— In the 6 elections this century, the popular vote margin has been less than 5 points in all but 1 of them.

— Many of the states have been consistent in their presidential voting since 2000, although there have been key shifts that have altered the roster of most competitive swing states.

— Relative to the nation, much of the West has become more Democratic over the past 2 decades, along with some other pockets of the country, while many states in the Northeast, Midwest, and Greater South have become more Republican.

— The most competitive states in 2020 may be the most competitive in 2024: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the Great Lakes region and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina in the Sun Belt.

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December 1, 2022

The New Crossover Members of the House By Kyle Kondik

Republicans win majority by cutting deeper into hostile turf; number of split districts remains low historically.


— Republicans won a slim House majority at least in part by winning more victories in districts that Joe Biden carried than Democrats did in districts carried by Donald Trump.

— There are currently slated to be 18 Republicans in Biden seats and just 5 Democrats in Trump seats.

— Democrats used to win more crossover districts, but Republicans have now won more in 6 of the last 7 elections as the overall number of crossover districts has generally declined.

— It is common for the opposition party in Congress to add to their roster of crossover districts in a midterm, and that’s exactly what happened in 2022, despite Republicans having a disappointing election overall.