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Republicans on Track to Lose The House if Nothing Changes

             8/22/2018

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The political analytics project FiveThirtyEight has officially predicted a “5 in 7” chance, or about 73.1 percent, that the Democrat Party will win enough seats in the 2018 midterm elections to have a small majority in the House of Representatives. The most likely probability, according to their aggregated polls and algorithms, predicts an 80 percent chance that Democrats will win at least 14 seats, and at most 56. Of all the results within those brackets, the most likely is a 34-seat increase, giving Democrats 227 seats and Republicans 208, only 19 more seats.

It’s important to remember these percentages are the likelihoods of each party having a majority, not voter percentages. Political polls in both specific states and for a generic congressional ballot have given Democrats a consistent 7 percent advantage. Trends can still change quickly, even in the few months before the November midterms, but even giving the margin of error attributed to pollsters for the presidential election, it’s unlikely the Republicans will have a majority.

If Congress follows the precedent of the past several decades and has a majority against the president’s party, the usual political deadlock will ensue. Americans can expect far fewer laws and policies passed and repealed than the already-slow process currently happening. For Democrats, that would at least give them a chance to halt the Republicans’ momentum by obstructing any new measures they try to introduce. Of course, they would not be able to get ahead either due to President Trump’s veto power, because unless they have a 2/3 supermajority, they cannot override it. And yet even if they can’t enact any of their own policies, they can manage a degree of damage control on their ideological goals, and open the door for a future Democrat president.

Since the Hoover Administration in 1930, the House of Representatives has usually had a significant Democrat majority as compared to the Senate. Only in recent years in the Clinton, Obama, and Trump administrations have the Republicans began to take a slight majority. The election of congressional representatives is often won by a small margin, however, so these figures are a poor indicator of overall public opinion on the left and right.

Over time, the percentage of Americans registered as Democrats have remained about the same, while Republicans have been on the decline, with a larger portion of right-leaners preferring to call themselves “independent voters,” likely due to recent socio-cultural factors. The entertainment industry, media, and popular figures have largely made it unacceptable to publicly self-identify as a Republican, but people’s private opinions are not changed so quickly.

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