Carter Hanson’s Official Election Predictions #3 – The House

Carter Hanson, Section Editor of Opinion & Politics

It’s Saturday, Nov. 3 and I’m back with my predictions for the House of Representatives elections. This set of races is perhaps the most difficult to keep track of: 435 separate competitions is a lot to keep track of, even if you’re a political junkie and spend a lot of time studying it (me, basically). However, these are some of the most interesting elections of the season with dynamic characters competing in every city in America, all coming together to represent and deliberate in Washington on behalf of their constituents from every corner of the country.

Anyway, this is my take on how that will play out. Though don’t forget this is a prediction—a forecast—and I can’t really see the future, I can only give it my best shot. That being said, let’s take a look at my predictions.


The House

The House will, in all likelihood, be taken by the Democrats on election day, only 3 days from now. Democrats haven’t been in this good a position since 2006, where they took control of both houses of Congress with overwhelming margins. This year may perhaps (though don’t quote me on it) even be better for Democrats than 2010 for Republicans. In 2010, in the wake of the Tea Party Movement the GOP broke Democrat control of the House by picking up some 63 seats.

Democrats have been polling 8-9 points above Republicans in the generic ballot, a poll that measures national expected popular vote. They only need to be about 6 points ahead of Republicans in order for them to, in all probability, take control of the House. If Democrats can maintain a 9-10 point threshold we could see pro-Republican gerrymandering backfire. Though this scenario is relatively unlikely, it’s important to understand that this is within the realm of possibility and isn’t something to write off. In such a situation, GOP gerrymandering set up after 2010 could fail, Democrats being able to claim victory in solid Republican districts all over the nation. This has about a 5 or 10% chance of happening, about the same likelihood that the Republicans hold the House.

That brings me to the second outcome on the other side of the political pendulum: a Republican hold. Just to preface, it is pretty much impossible that Republicans gain any seats in the House, the math just doesn’t add up. However, it is relatively probable that Democrats fail to take the 23 seats they need in order to reconquer the legislative body as a whole. In this scenario, Democratic enthusiasm may be high like we’re seeing in the polls and especially fundraising numbers, but Republicans would be more energized than expected, almost matching their opponents enthusiasm.

Neither of the two scenarios I talked about so far—Democrats breaking the institutional floodgates and Republicans turning out enough to hold on—are what I think we’ll happen. The most likely outcome is somewhere in the middle: I forecast Democrats will pick up about 41 seats, more than enough for them to take the House.

If you run the numbers, Democrats are almost certain to take control based purely on the fact that if they only take the 25 lean and likely Democratic districts on top of their 193 solid districts, they’ll have enough to take the legislature, even if they lose every single swing district in the nation. On top of that, Democrats will not lose every single swing district, it just wouldn’t make sense, especially in a “wave election” year.

In addition, if you break it down race-by-race, Democrats will pick up at least 10 toss-up seats, putting them way over the edge for a national victory.

I don’t really want to go into super specific individual race data given the fact that there are 435 of them, far too many for me to cover in an article (especially one written on a Saturday morning), but I just want to leave you, my audience, with some stuff to watch for on election night.

Here is my breakdown of the 28 races to watch. These are the toss-up races that will determine the course of the nation in terms of policy, character, and, know more than ever in the insane era we live in, the moral trajectory of America.

Thanks for reading this installment of Carter Hanson’s Official Election Predictions and I’ll see you tomorrow for my run down of the races for state legislatures and state offices all over the country.