STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

CNN moves 9 key House races in Dems' favor

With six weeks until Election Day, CNN has moved nine key House races in the Democrats' direction. CNN's John King breaks down the current political landscape with Margie Omero and Kristen Soltis Anderson of "The Pollsters" podcast.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 5:08 PM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 5:27 PM

With less than six weeks left before the 2018 midterm elections, I get asked -- a lot -- whether I think Republicans can hold into the House majority they won in 2014. And my general response is that Republicans have a less than 50-50 shot at holding it.

But looking closely at the House map -- and the latest race ratings released Tuesday by CNN -- I feel like that calculation may be underplaying (maybe by a lot) the odds that Democrats will net the 23 seats they need to takeover the majority.

Let's go through the numbers.

At the moment, CNN has 40(!) Republican-held seats rated as toss-ups or worse for the party. That total includes 26 GOP seats in toss-up, 11 Republican seats leaning Democratic, two GOP seats as likely Democratic and one seat ranked as solidly Democratic.

Compare that to the total number of Democratic seats rated as toss-ups or worse: three. Yes, just three. Two are toss-ups -- Minnesota's 1st and 8th districts -- and the third, Pennsylania's 14th, is rated as a solidly Republican seat. But even that is a bit misleading; the 14th district is the seat currently held by Rep. Conor Lamb (D), who is running (and winning) in the 17th district.

A little bit of basic math produces this conclusion: Republicans have more than 10 times the number of deeply-vulnerable seats than Democrats do. TEN times! (That's one more than nine times.)

And a little bit more basic math: If Democrats win the three GOP-held seats that are currently either rated by CNN as solid or likely Democratic and, say, two-thirds of the Republican seats in the leaning Democratic category, they need to win only half of the seats rated as toss-up to retake the House. If Democrats win all 14 of the Republicans seats that are ranked as solid, likely or leaning their way, they need to win only nine of the 26 GOP seats regarded by CNN as toss-ups to retake the House majority.

All of that math is compounded by the fact that, as I noted above, there are just very, very few Democratic-held seats in any real jeopardy. If Republicans were defending 40 of their own highly vulnerable seats but had, say, 20 Democratic-held seats that were in similar danger, the GOP would be in decent position. Yes, they would lose a bunch of their own seats but if they could counteract those losses with some gains in Democratic seats, it would make the math harder for Democrats.

That isn't how this election cycle has played out, however.

It's not just the raw number of seats that paint such a dire picture for the House majority -- although the picture they paint in sufficiently grim. It's history, too. In the post-Civil War era, there have been only three midterm elections -- 1934, 1998 and 2002 -- in which the president's party did not lose House seats. In each of those three instances, there was a catastrophic cultural event (Great Depression, Clinton impeachment, September 11) that shifted the vote. Those three elections are very clearly exceptions to a long-standing political rule.

The likely loss of seats -- as history tells it -- could well be compounded by President Donald Trump's middling approval rating, which is hovering in the upper 30s and low 40s. In the post World War II era, presidents with job approval ratings under 50% average a 37-seat loss in the House. AVERAGE.

There are two related pushbacks on this cornucopia of evidence that suggests Democrats will almost certainly win back the House in 41 days.

The first is that all the conventional wisdom suggested that Trump would lose in 2016 to Hillary Clinton and he won. Which is true. It is, of course, also true that polling predicted a narrow Clinton win nationally; she won the popular vote by almost 3 million.

The second is best understood through this reporting from The Washington Post's Erica Werner: "Joe Barton stood up in GOP conference this am and told members that the Washington Post predicted he would lose in '84 and he won ... therefore there's hope for the majority. Per GOP source."

Which, um, OK. Anecdotes about how you won -- in a state where Ronald Reagan won 63.6% of the vote and where Republicans held the national convention in 1984 -- may not be the best evidence of why there isn't a Democratic wave out there. But, whatever.

Math is math. And the math suggests Democrats are in a very strong position with 41 days left before the nation votes.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 90942

Reported Deaths: 2021
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26054922
Ramsey10572318
Dakota7216125
Anoka5801132
Stearns381223
Washington361055
Scott245833
Olmsted231927
Nobles193616
Blue Earth16116
Wright15407
St. Louis140034
Carver13607
Rice13088
Mower12935
Clay128140
Sherburne110414
Kandiyohi9332
Winona85218
Lyon6524
Waseca5338
Freeborn5223
Steele5222
Benton5153
Watonwan5064
Nicollet50416
Todd4792
Chisago4581
McLeod4522
Le Sueur4454
Crow Wing43918
Otter Tail4004
Beltrami3795
Goodhue3329
Martin3299
Pine2840
Itasca28213
Polk2754
Isanti2650
Douglas2622
Becker2482
Carlton2451
Cottonwood2190
Pipestone2159
Unassigned21252
Morrison2081
Dodge2020
Chippewa1971
Sibley1843
Meeker1832
Brown1802
Wabasha1800
Yellow Medicine1622
Murray1572
Rock1550
Mille Lacs1503
Redwood1420
Renville1367
Jackson1341
Faribault1320
Cass1313
Swift1231
Roseau1170
Houston1140
Pennington1121
Fillmore1110
Koochiching1113
Kanabec1098
Lincoln1020
Stevens931
Pope890
Hubbard830
Aitkin731
Big Stone700
Wadena670
Grant594
Lake570
Wilkin563
Norman520
Marshall501
Lac qui Parle470
Mahnomen461
Red Lake390
Traverse300
Clearwater260
Lake of the Woods211
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 80698

Reported Deaths: 1275
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15366259
Woodbury504263
Johnson501127
Black Hawk437586
Linn3808108
Story331517
Dubuque282341
Scott281827
Dallas269838
Pottawattamie200238
Buena Vista195112
Marshall176234
Sioux13723
Wapello127157
Webster120214
Clinton107419
Muscatine106854
Plymouth105820
Crawford10145
Cerro Gordo100221
Warren9326
Jasper77232
Des Moines7407
Marion7265
Tama69431
Carroll6375
Henry6204
Lee5997
Wright5631
Dickinson4876
Boone4788
Bremer4687
Washington43211
Louisa42515
Mahaska34619
Delaware3423
Franklin34218
Hamilton3153
Jackson3043
Floyd3023
Winneshiek2995
Clay2963
Benton2871
Hardin2841
Winnebago27511
Butler2622
Lyon2603
Clarke2563
Emmet25210
Poweshiek2528
Buchanan2511
Allamakee2486
Jones2483
Shelby2441
Clayton2343
Guthrie2315
Kossuth2310
Cedar2231
Chickasaw2220
Sac2200
Grundy2062
Madison2062
Cherokee2042
Fayette2002
Iowa1921
Mitchell1830
Howard1826
Harrison1812
Humboldt1763
Hancock1742
Calhoun1722
Mills1691
Palo Alto1630
Pocahontas1542
Lucas1526
Monroe15010
Page1420
Monona1401
Cass1362
Jefferson1341
Osceola1300
Appanoose1253
Taylor1241
Union1223
Davis1164
Van Buren1111
Ida1030
Worth1030
Keokuk911
Fremont900
Greene890
Montgomery885
Wayne842
Audubon681
Adair671
Decatur600
Ringgold442
Adams290
Unassigned70
Rochester
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 61°
Mason City
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 58°
Albert Lea
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 68°
Austin
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Charles City
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 63°
Tracking more warmth before cooler weather arrives for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Antibody Testing for blood donors

Image

Rochester going electric with public transport

Image

National Voter Registration Day

Image

Medical Reserve Corp Needs Volunteers

Image

10 Pounds OF Meth Seized

Image

Mural Project Creates Employment and Art

Image

Pandemic Disproportionately Affects Minority Communities

Image

WIC Program Participants Increasing

Image

United Way of Olmsted County seeks partners in providing distance learning help

Community Events