Forty-six percent (46%) of Registered Voters nationwide expect the Republicans to retain or expand their majority in the U.S. Senate in the midterm elections. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 32% disagree and think the Democrats will emerge victorious while 22% are not sure.
As for the House of Representatives, 39% expect Republicans to keep their majority while 36% think the Democrats will win control. Among those most likely to vote, Democrats are slightly favored (42% to 39%). However, among a slightly expanded group of likely voters, Republicans are narrowly favored (41% to 39%). In all cases, the gap is well within the margin of error.
Our latest Generic Congressional Ballot data suggests a range of possible outcomes. The best for the GOP would be a very competitive race for control of the House. On the other hand, it’s also possible to see Democrats picking up 40 seats or so.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted October 14-15, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the sample Demographics). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Most pundits and analysts agree with the voters and expect the Republicans to retain control of the Senate. As I write this, the betting markets suggest Republicans have an 85% chance of victory. Looking at the ScottRasmussen.com race-by-race summary, it seems that the GOP is more likely to pick up a few seats rather than lose their majority. Democrats have five seats at high risk (North Dakota, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Montana) while the Republicans have just two (Arizona and Nevada).
As for the House of Representatives, most analysts and the betting markets expect the Democrats to win a majority. Some commentary lately has suggested that the Democratic gains may be somewhat more modest than earlier expected. Voters have remained fairly evenly divided on the question suggesting that this could be a very close race.
In years gone by, I found that asking voters who they thought would win generally worked pretty well. However, I was not polling during the 2016 presidential campaign and have no way of providing comparable data from that year.
One possible explanation for the gap between voters and pundits on the House races is simply that the pundits lost credibility in 2016. It is possible that many GOP voters are simply dismissing the analysts and polls this time around. It is also possible, of course, that the voters sense something that hasn’t reached the analysts yet. Perhaps the forecasts and expectations will draw closer by Election Day.
Currently, the ScottRasmussen.com race-by-race analysis shows 210 House races at least tilting to the Democrats. To win a majority, Nancy Pelosi’s team would need to win those seats and at least 8 of the 22 Toss-ups.
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