The Forecast predicts House and Senate races

CNN launched The Forecast, an experimental product that uses data analysis to forecast who has the best chance of controlling the House and Senate.

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 4:03 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2018 4:32 PM

House forecast: Democrats will win 229 seats (and the House majority) while Republicans will win just 206 seats. A Democratic win of 205 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 47 seats and 57 seats is within the margin of error.

Republican hopes of holding the Senate look as bright as ever. Thanks to clear Republican advantages in North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas in our forecast, the Democratic path to a Senate majority is currently blocked. All of those races are within the margin of error, but they aren't razor tight.

For 2020 presidential implications, however, the forecast has good news for Democrats. President Donald Trump was able to win in 2016 because he broke the Democratic stranglehold on the Midwest. Specifically, he took Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Without these states, he would have lost to Hillary Clinton. Trump also came close to winning Minnesota, which no Republican presidential candidate has done since Richard Nixon.

Democrats probably have to win back a good chunk of these states in 2020 to win the presidency.

All of these states except Iowa have a Senate race in 2018, and Democrats lead in all of them.

Michigan: Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is forecasted to win by 18 points. That advantage is outside the margin of error.

Ohio: Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is forecasted to win by 15 points. This advantage is outside the margin of error.

Pennsylvania: Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is forecasted to win by 14 points. This advantage is right on the edge of being outside the margin of error.

Wisconsin: Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is forecasted to win by 12 points. This advantage is inside the margin of error, but is on the outer-bands.

You notice a pattern? Democrats are predicted to win all these races by double-digits. Some of them are so big that they are outside the margin of error. That's a far cry from 2016, when Republicans won the presidential race and (when there was one) Senate races in all these states.

It's no better for Republicans in Minnesota. Although Republicans may pick up a seat or two in Republican-leaning House districts, the Senate seats currently look out of reach. Senior Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is forecasted to win by 24 points, which is well outside the margin of error. Democratic Sen. Tina Smith is forecasted to take Minnesota's other Senate seat by 10 points -- an advantage on the edge of the margin of error.

Now, it would be easy to argue that this is merely Democratic incumbent senators merely using the incumbency advantage. That, however, would ignore the strength that Democrats are having in the gubernatorial contests in these states.

We're not forecasting winners and losers in the gubernatorial races, though the polling averages in these states are quite instructive. Democrats are ahead of their Republican rivals in all these states, and only one of them (Pennsylvania) had a Democratic incumbent.

Iowa: Democrat Fred Hubbell holds a 4-point lead over Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Michigan: Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is up 9 points over Republican Bill Schuette.

Minnesota: Democrat Tim Walz leads Republican Jeff Johnson by 9 points.

Ohio: Democrat Richard Cordray is ahead of Republican Mike DeWine by 3 points.

Pennsylvania: Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is winning by 17 points over Republican Scott Wagner.

Wisconsin: Democrat Tony Evers is barely up on Republican Scott Walker by 4 points.

Obviously, not all of these leads are large. Additionally, it shouldn't be too surprising that Democrats are doing well given the national environment favors them.

Still, these results suggest that the Midwest isn't moving to the right this year. It is still a very winnable region for Democrats in 2020. Without it, Democrats may be locked out of the White House.

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