Pundits have spent all of 2018 predicting a Democrat sweep in November.
The experts have claimed that Donald Trump’s unpopularity guarantees Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker of the House.
But that’s all changed, and one pollster’s election numbers have Democrats running for their lives.
History Favors The Democrats
Democrats held a consistent lead throughout 2018 on the generic ballot question of which party Americans want to see run Congress.
The party out of power traditionally gains seats in the midterm elections after a new President assumes office.
Historically, the minority party gains on average over 20 seats in the midterms.
These historical facts has led many election forecasters to place strong odds on the Democrats seizing control of the House in November since they need to flip just 23 seats in the House to install Nancy Pelosi as the next Speaker.
Shocking Poll Numbers
But not every expert shares this view.
CBS’s Anthony Salvanto runs the network’s polling unit.
Salvanto oversees the CBS Battleground Tracking poll.
Instead of national surveys, CBS tracks the poll numbers in 50 to 60 of the Congressional Districts most likely to determine control of the House.
Salvanto does not see a blue wave in November.
Salvanto explained in an exclusive interview with the New York Post how the Republicans could hold onto their Congressional majorities.
The New York Post reports:
Some are picked for their demographic profile. “For example, we know Democrats have been trying to win suburban voters with college degrees, so we’re looking at the districts with many of those voters,” Salvanto said.
“We also look at where the campaigns are spending money,” he noted — a sign that the parties’ own internal data sees a potential pick-up or a possible loss.
“Overall, the districts in play tend to be more suburban and more affluent than the rest of the country,” he said. “But no single district will tell the national story.
“Right now I think this election looks like a toss-up,” Salvanto said. “We see a Democrat pickup in the House of Representatives in the 20-odd seat range, but Republicans could certainly hold on to the House.” The GOP holds a slim 43-seat House majority, with six vacancies.
“Even though Republicans have not fared well in special elections so far this cycle, it does look like they will be turning out for the midterms,” Salvanto said. “So far we do not see a large number of Republicans saying they will flip and vote for a Democrat.”
While Democrats are likely to gain seats in November, it is not a sure thing that they will win control of Congress.
Some forecasters look at the generic ballot and see the Democrat’s lead and assume the cake is baked.
But control of the House is not determined by national popular vote.
Voters in individual Congressional districts will decide which party runs the House in 435 separate elections.
That is why the poll numbers in key districts, as opposed to national generic ballot poll numbers, maybe a better indicator of what will happen in November.
To be sure, CBS’s numbers do put the Democrats within striking range of a big win in November.
However, that victory is not as etched in stone as some would like you to believe.
We will keep you up to date on any new developments in the 2018 midterm elections and the fight for Congress.