One month before the midterm elections the analysis of the likely outcome of the elections from one of the best sources of which I’m aware, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia summarizes the state of the House:
Our best guess in the House right now remains a Democratic net gain in the low-to-mid 30s, with enough uncertainty that we would not rule out the Democratic gains sputtering out short of the 23-seat net gain they need.
As we noted last week, Democrats need to win 80% of all the Senate races this year (28 of 35) to win the Senate, something a party has accomplished only twice before in more than a century of Senate popular elections. We remain skeptical of their ability to do so but we won’t rule it out either.
Let me summarize it this way. It is possible that the Democrats will take both the House and the Senate. It is possible that the Republicans will eke out a victory and continue to hold both the House and the Senate. It is likely that the Democrats will narrowly take control of the House while the Republicans continue to control the Senate. Which is about what I said six months ago.
If the elections actually turn on who shows up to vote and in what numbers, judging from the polling data the Democrats have made a strategic error. Back in July the Democrats were favored in the “enthusiasm gap” by a comfortable 14 points (the prevailing wisdom is that if the Democrats are up by 7 points or more, they win). Now they’re up by 1 point, well within the margin of error meaning Republicans might actually be more motivated than Democrats at this point.