On the eve of Election Day, let's check in with the final numbers for the big voting prediction sites. First up, Larry Sabato and his Crystal Ball crew.
Our ratings changes leave 229 seats at least leaning to the Democrats and 206 at least leaning to the Republicans, so we are expecting the Democrats to pick up more than 30 seats (our precise ratings now show Democrats netting 34 seats in the House, 11 more than the 23 they need). We have long cautioned against assuming the House was a done deal for the Democrats, and we don’t think readers should be stunned if things go haywire for Democrats tomorrow night. That said, it may be just as likely — or even more likely — that we’re understating the Democrats in the House. Many of our sources on both sides seemed to think the Democratic tally would be more like +35 to 40 (or potentially even higher) when we checked in with them over the weekend.
On the Senate side, it's plus one for the GOP.
Because of the bad map Democrats faced this year, the GOP picking up seats always seemed like a possibility, even a strong possibility. Our final ratings reaffirm this potential; we have 52 Senate seats at least leaning to the Republicans, and 48 at least leaning to the Democrats. If that happened, the GOP would net a seat.Politico likewise has the Dems retaking the House, but losing the Senate.
Democrats have pulled ahead in nearly enough races to claim a majority of the 435 seats up for grabs in the first national election of Donald Trump’s presidency, with POLITICO’s final race ratings showing 216 seats in the Democratic column — those are either solidly Democratic, likely Democratic or at least leaning Democratic.
That’s a significantly stronger position than Republicans, who have 197 seats leaning or solidly in their camp, but still just shy of the 218 needed to control the House next year. Republicans would need to win at least 21 of the 22 toss-ups — races that are currently considered too close to call — to get to 218 seats.
The Senate is a darker prospect depending on Heitkamp, Ted Cruz, and the open seat in Tennessee.
If Democrats can win one of those three races, they’ll still need to sweep the five toss-up contests on Tuesday to win back the majority. Three of the five are in states that Trump carried and where Democrats are defending seats: Florida, Indiana and Missouri.
Republicans are convinced they have the advantage in both Missouri and Indiana. Of those, the Missouri seat — currently held by Sen. Claire McCaskill — is the most endangered. But public polls in recent days have McCaskill neck-and-neck with state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who had been ahead in some other surveys in October. And Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly led his GOP challenger, former state Rep. Mike Braun, in two public polls last week.
Harry Enten gets right to the point at CNN.
House forecast: Democrats will win 226 seats (and the House majority) while Republicans will win just 209 seats. A Democratic win of 203 seats and 262 seats is within the margin of error.
Senate forecast: Republicans will hold 52 seats (and maintain control of the Senate) next Congress while Democrats will hold just 48. Anything between Republicans holding 48 seats and 56 seats is within the margin of error.
Nate Cohn at the NY Times sees dozens of true toss-ups in the House, but the Dems would only need a few of them to take the lower chamber.
After more than 10,000 interviews, the result, in the aggregate, is that Democrats and Republicans are essentially tied in the 30 districts rated as tossups by the Cook Political Report, with Democrats leading by around half a percentage point.
Democrats need to win only a handful of these tossup districts — perhaps as few as six — to gain the net 23 seats needed to take control, which is why they’re considered favorites. But Democrats haven’t put them away. Instead, those races remain startlingly close. Each of the final 28 poll results in the tossup districts was within the margin of error, and 20 of the 28 were within two percentage points, a margin that pales in comparison with the typical measurement error in a poll.
With so many close contests, even modest late shifts among undecided voters or a slightly unexpected turnout could yield significantly different results, with very different consequences for the government and the future of the Trump presidency.
Over all, the polls comport with the growing consensus among operatives from both parties that Democrats are poised to gain around 35 seats in the House. If the Times/Siena polls were exactly right (they will not be), Democrats would gain 32 seats, assuming the two parties held the seats that were not polled.
Charlie Cook at Cook Political Report has this breakdown:
Topline: The current House breakdown is 237 Republicans and 193 Democrats with five vacancies (three Republican and two Democratic). Democrats would need a net gain of 23 seats in November to retake the majority. President Trump's low approval ratings and Democratic voters' heightened enthusiasm are threatening Republicans' structural advantages in the House, including incumbency and favorably drawn districts. A record number of Republican open seats and a new court-ordered congressional map in Pennsylvania have further weakened the GOP's position. Republicans' ability to keep their majority now depends on their ability to define individual Democrats as unacceptable alternatives on a race-by-race basis. At the moment, Democrats are substantial favorites for House control and could pick up anywhere from 20 to 40 seats.
The Senate is not in play for the Dems according to Cook, however.
Topline: Both parties have advantages this cycle. For Republicans, the numbers are on their side. There are 34 races, including the special election in Alabama, and Democrats must defend 25 of those seats, compared to nine for Republicans. They also benefit from a friendly map in that Democrats are defending 10 seats in states that President Trump won in 2016. By contrast, there is only one GOP seat – U.S. Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada – up in a state that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried. Democrats are banking on the mid-term election curse in which the party in power tends to lose seats in the Senate and/or the House in mid-term elections, as well as Trump’s unpopularity and an energized base to help keep their losses to a minimum. An early read of the cycle suggests that there might not be much change in the make up of the Senate after Election Day. At this point, the range is +/- one seat for Democrats, which would have to be considered a victory. A bad night for Democrats would be the loss of three or four seats. At this point, the one certainty is that the majority is not in play.
Finally, Nate Silver's numbers at Five Thirty Eight.
Not much has changed in our forecast since early October: Republicans are still favorites to keep control of the Senate, with a 5 in 6 (83 percent) shot.1What’s more, as we close in on Election Day, all signs point to the House and Senate moving in opposite directions this year. (As I’ve written before, this is weird but not unprecedented.) Republicans’ odds in the House are nearly the reverse of where they stand in the Senate: The GOP has a 1 in 8 (13 percent) chance of retaining a House majority.
Republicans have a 50 percent chance of adding at least one senator to their tally. Meanwhile, Democrats have a 32 percent shot of picking up at least one seat. But there is also nearly an 18 percent chance that there will be no net change — in other words, the status quo will be preserved and the GOP will hold on to its current 51-to-49 majority.
We'll see who's right and who's not. I'm working on a special treat for you guys later this week, and I'll let you know how it goes.