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Commentary By Kyle Kondik

Most Recent Releases

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June 23, 2022

Notes on the State of Politics By Kyle Kondik

House rating changes in Virginia, California, and Alaska

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June 9, 2022

How the House Landscape Changed: A mild decline in competitive seats, and a spike in safe Republican ones by Kyle Kondik


-- The new House landscape is fairly similar to the old one.

-- However, there is a notable increase in the number of super-safe Republican seats -- and a modest decline in the overall number of competitive districts.

-- New Hampshire, the final state to complete redistricting, kept its old map basically intact, which means the state should feature a couple of competitive races.

-- Now that redistricting appears to be complete for 2022, we have brought back our traditional House rating tables, which are available at the bottom of this article and at our Crystal Ball House page.

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May 26, 2022

Redistricting: The Overall Picture, Plus a Look at NY and MO By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Median House seat will still sit a couple of points to the right of the nation


— With the national House map nearly complete, it appears that the overall map still leans toward Republicans.

— However, this GOP bias is not nearly as strong as it was a decade ago.

— We rate and analyze the new Missouri and New York congressional maps.

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May 12, 2022

The Kinds of Seats that Flip in Midterms By Kyle Kondik

Looking back on past recent waves to assess Republicans’ potential in November.


— While increasingly salient issues like abortion could change the political environment, Republicans still appear on track for a strong showing in the U.S. House.

— Recent midterms have hollowed out the presidential party’s holdings of districts where the president either did the same or worse than he did nationally or only a little better.

— Republicans likely will have trouble winning districts where Joe Biden won more than 55% of the vote, but that still leaves them dozens of Democratic-held targets below that mark as redistricting is finalized.

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May 5, 2022

How Abortion Might Motivate or Persuade Voters in the Midterms By Kyle Kondik, Larry Schack, and Mick McWilliams

Project Home Fire data reveal partisan attitudes on abortion.


— The end of Roe vs. Wade could potentially give Democrats a better chance to motivate their own voters and/or persuade Republican-leaning swing voters.

— Public opinion on abortion is nuanced, although more are likelier to take the pro-abortion rights side on a couple of key questions.

— It’s unclear whether abortion opinions would outweigh the public’s opinions about other issues where Democrats are vulnerable.

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April 21, 2022

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

The overall picture for November, and the looming primaries in May.

The small stuff versus the big stuff

There is a push and pull in the race for control of the U.S. Senate between the big picture electoral environment, which clearly benefits Republicans, and the day-to-day developments on the campaign trail, which do not always clearly benefit Republicans.

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April 14, 2022

Trump-District House Democrats Could Become Extinct This November By Kyle Kondik

How redistricting has altered the number of “crossover” districts.


— The number of “crossover” districts — those won by different parties for president and House — has generally been declining over time.

— Under the current congressional district lines, there were only 16 crossover districts in 2020, with Republicans winning 9 Biden-won seats and Democrats winning 7 Trump-won seats.

— Based on the new district lines, and with a few states still outstanding, there are currently 16 incumbents running in districts that their party did not win for president: 11 Republicans in Biden seats and 5 Democrats in Trump seats.

— The Democrats may not hold a single Trump district next year, and the Republicans very well could hold many more Biden-won seats.

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April 7, 2022

Sarah Palin’s Surprising and Possibly Historic Run for the House By Kyle Kondik

How a victory would set her apart from other unsuccessful postwar VP candidates.


— 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin surprised the political world when she announced a run to replace the late Don Young in Alaska’s at-large U.S. House seat.

— It’s not unusual for VP losers to subsequently win elected office, although in recent decades that has meant simply winning reelection to the job they held prior to being named to a presidential ticket.

— If Palin wins, she will set an obscure historical marker for unsuccessful postwar VP nominees.

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March 31, 2022

The Politics of the Nation’s Fastest-Growing Counties By Kyle Kondik

Trends help illuminate how their states have changed over the past decade, particularly in Florida and Texas.


— The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported changes in population from 2020 to 2021.

— While the headline findings mainly dealt with population declines, a number of places (particularly in the Sun Belt) are still experiencing substantial growth.

— A little more than 5 dozen counties with at least 100,000 residents grew by 3% or more from April 2020 to July 2021. These counties are spread across 20 states.

— Almost all of these counties vote Republican for president, although GOP presidential performance has eroded in many of them.

— Nearly half of these counties are in Florida and Texas, and the differing presidential trends in these fast-growing counties help illustrate the changing political trajectory of each state.

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March 17, 2022

Gas Prices and Presidential Approval By Kyle Kondik

There is some connection historically, but that connection is getting weaker.


— President Joe Biden and his party are struggling amidst myriad challenges, including high gas prices. Gas prices have spiked in recent weeks following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

— There is some association between higher gas prices and lower presidential approval, although the connection is not particularly strong.

— This association has been weaker over the past decade than it was previously.

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January 20, 2022

Five Warning Signs for Biden as He Marks First Anniversary in Office By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Reviewing Biden's (and Democrats') numbers after a turbulent first year.


— As Joe Biden marks a year in office, he has found himself in a perilous position, and there are no obvious signs of improvement.

— Among Biden’s challenges is an apparently weakened position among nonwhite voters as well as younger voters, two immensely important pillars of the Democratic coalition.

— Inflation has re-emerged as an important problem for what appears to be the first time in decades, and Biden has work to do to persuade the public that he’s taking it seriously.

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January 13, 2022

House Republicans’ Drive to 35 By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

What it would take for the GOP to build its biggest majority since the Great Depression?


— With some key national factors seemingly in their favor, Republicans could win a healthy majority in the House in 2022 — perhaps even their biggest in nearly a century.

— However, compared to past Republican midterm wave cycles, specifically 1994 and 2010, Republicans probably have less room for growth.

— As a majority of states have enacted new maps, we can chart out what a banner night for House Republicans may look like.

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December 9, 2021

Incumbency vs. Environment in 2022’s Gubernatorial Races Rating changes in four races by Kyle Kindik and J. Miles Coleman


-- Amid a promising national environment for Republicans, we are changing ratings in 4 gubernatorial contests -- 3 of which are in the GOP’s favor.

-- The power of gubernatorial incumbency will be tested in 2022, both by a plethora of Republican primary challengers to sitting GOP governors and, for Democrats, by the national political climate in next year’s general election.

-- This election will feature a relatively high number of incumbents running for reelection compared to many previous midterm years (midterms are when the bulk of the gubernatorial elections are held).

-- Despite playing defense in many vulnerable races across the country, Democrats have the 2 clearest gubernatorial pickup opportunities.

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December 2, 2021

A Tale of Two Midwestern Gerrymanders: Illinois and Ohio by Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman


-- Gerrymanders by Democrats in Illinois and Republicans in Ohio seek to build upon their dominance of their respective states.

-- The Ohio Supreme Court could intervene against the GOP gerrymander there, which perhaps helps explain why Republicans were not as aggressive as they could have been, even though Republicans can reasonably hope that the map they drew will perform for them as intended.

-- Massachusetts Democrats and Oklahoma Republicans also recently finalized maps that should allow both to maintain their monopolies on House seats in their respective states.

-- Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R-MA) retirement pushes the Massachusetts gubernatorial race from Likely Republican all the way to Likely Democratic.

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November 18, 2021

Six Decades of Regional Change in House Elections By Kyle Kondik

The GOP edge in the South, already large, could grow in 2022.


— The Greater South used to be the key cog in Democratic House majorities; now it is the region that allows Republicans to win majorities.

— Democrats’ dominance on the West Coast and Northeast have allowed them to win majorities even as they have fallen further behind in the Greater South.

— The Republican edge in the Greater South should only grow in 2022.

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October 21, 2021

The California Recall: Looking Under the Hood as Vote Count Finalized By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Are there any lessons for elections to come?


— The vote count in California is finally done, and there were some noticeable trends in the results.

— While the recall election largely lined up with the 2018 gubernatorial result, some notable changes are evident when comparing last month’s vote to other recent statewide races.

— That the Democrats performed very well in that race even in the midst of Joe Biden’s still ongoing slide in popularity is an interesting data point, but it’s just a single one that may not be confirmed by looming statewide races in more competitive states, such as Virginia.

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October 14, 2021

Five Questions About Virginia’s Tight Gubernatorial Race By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Breaking down 2021’s marquee race with less than 3 weeks to go.


— In the closely-watched Virginia gubernatorial race, Glenn Youngkin (R) is keeping it close with Terry McAuliffe (D), in part because he now enjoys some of the advantages that Democrats enjoyed in Virginia during Donald Trump’s presidency.

— Though the McAuliffe campaign has worked relentlessly to tie Youngkin to Trump, an unpopular figure in the commonwealth who has endorsed Youngkin several times, President Biden’s weakened approval ratings weigh on Democrats. Congressional Democrats’ lack of action on big-item legislation, specifically on infrastructure and social spending, also seems to be dampening enthusiasm among their rank-and-file voters.

— The down-ballot races will probably be linked closely with the top of the ticket, with the state House of Delegates up for grabs in addition to the other statewide offices.

— While early voting is down a good deal compared to last year’s presidential race, as expected, it is hard to draw firm conclusions from these totals because the lion’s share of Virginians have traditionally voted on Election Day, aside from last year during the pandemic.

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September 2, 2021

Redistricting in America, Part Seven: The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Democrats seek more from a region they already dominate.


— Democrats already control the vast majority of seats along the eastern seaboard from Virginia to Maine.

— New York offers Democrats their greatest gerrymandering upside of any state, but it is not guaranteed that they will maximize their holdings there.

— Virginia’s unproven new commission system makes redistricting there a mystery, although Republicans could re-take control of the state’s congressional delegation through a combination of redistricting fortune and strong electoral performance.

— Republicans in New Hampshire and Democrats in Maryland face notable gerrymandering decisions.

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August 26, 2021

Redistricting in America, Part Six: The Great Lakes By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

Democrats will try to wring a bit more out of Illinois, while divided government, judges, and new redistricting methods cloud the outlook elsewhere.


— This week, we’re looking at redistricting in seven Midwest/Great Lakes states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

— The highly competitive region was a collective nailbiter for president, and Republicans hold an overall House edge there, though not as large as earlier last decade.

— Illinois is really the only large state where Democrats clearly should have unfettered gerrymandering power, but with a 13-5 edge already and one seat needing to be eliminated, they don’t have a ton of room to grow. But Democrats also will try to solidify some of the seats they already have.

— Divided government in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin could very well mean courts have to get involved, while Michigan and Ohio are implementing new redistricting systems.

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August 19, 2021

Redistricting in America, Part Five: The Interior West/Heartland By Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman

And a look at the overall political environment.


— For all of the focus on redistricting, the overall political environment matters for House elections too, and President Biden has shown some signs of weakness in recent weeks.

— As we continue our redistricting series, we analyze several small-to-medium-sized states in the Interior West and Heartland.

— One of the overall things to watch in the region is the degree to which Republicans are aggressive in redistricting, even in a state — Iowa — known for a nonpartisan system.