Conflicting Trends in Congressional Elections

In mid-December, the Democrats had a solid double-digit lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot, roughly 13 points on average. Over the past month, that’s been cut in half with most recent polls showing the Democrats holding around a six point advantage. That’s good news for the GOP.

At the same time, the race by race analysis has shown a steady drift in favor of the Democrats. With a decent midterm turnout, our model currently shows the Democrats winning 215 House seats, up from 209 not too long ago.

The conflicting trends are primarily the result of GOP retirements. Just yesterday, Rodney Freelinghuysen opted out of a re-election bid and the NJ-11 race shifted from Leans Republican to Toss-Up status. The more open seats that exist, the better the chances for Nancy Pelosi’s party to win control in November.

But, of course, the elections are still far away and a lot can happen between now and then. Over the many months between now and when votes are cast, the race-by-race analysis will probably follow the Generic Ballot. That’s because 45 House races are potentially competitive and could end up in either camp depending upon the political environment.

Among those 45 competitive races, 38 are held by Republicans and just 7 by Democrats. The Democrats have a chance to win a solid majority in the House while the Republicans are just hoping to minimize the losses.