Monday, August 20, 2018

But What About the Senate?

Yesterday I covered the quite favorable outlook for a Democratic takeover of the House, according to various models. (See Jonathan Bernstein on Bloomberg for a similar take.) But what about the Senate? Here the situation is radically different, as forcefully argued by David Wasserman today in the New York Times.
"The proper way to view the 2018 midterms might not be as one event, but as two very different elections playing out at once. It’s almost Mars vs. Venus: The Senate hinges on red, rural states where Democrats are on defense. But the House will be decided by swing, suburban seats where Republicans are highly vulnerable....
This fall, Democrats are defending 26 Senate seats, with Bernie Sanders and Angus King (more than half of their caucus), including five seats that voted for President Trump by 19 points or more. Republicans are defending only nine seats (fewer than a fifth of their caucus); all but one are states Mr. Trump carried....
These are two truly different universes: The median competitive Senate seat gave Mr. Trump 56 percent in 2016, has a population density of 88 people per square mile and falls below the national average in educational attainment and income. But the median competitive House district gave Mr. Trump 49 percent of the vote, has a population density of 375 people per square mile and ranks above the national average in college graduates and income."
Care for a probability estimate? Senate models are a bit thin on the ground, but David Byler at the Weekly Standard has created one that's worth checking out. His verdict: Dems have about a 28 percent chance of taking over the Senate. Sounds about right.
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● The Republicans have a great map -- if the Democrats lose even one competitive race, it becomes very difficult for them to win the chamber.

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