Blue Skies Ahead

Forecasts for the 2018 Midterm Elections


Sazida Marzia

Members of Student Organization hard at work planning activities for Bronx Science students. The S.O. is good training for future politicians.

The art of political science is an unusually mathematical one – but calling it simply mathematical does not do it justice. Political analysts across media outlets charted the numbers for the 2016 election towards a Clinton victory, with election tracking site giving Hillary a 71.4 percent chance to win and Trump a measly 28.6 percent, and we saw how that turned out. That particular upset, however, has seemed to move people in a way that is somewhat unprecedented.

Democrats have out-performed Republicans by an average of 13 points in 83 out of 114 districts.

Previously, the Democrats were a forecasted 7 to 8 percentage points ahead of the Republicans, signaling a potentially massive turnover, but some of that ground has recently been lost. The current lead is by 4 points, showing that Democrats need to not rest on their laurels once again, lest they risk losing even more control to the Republicans.

In recent elections, voting data has shown that in state and congressional special elections, Democrats have out-performed Republicans by an average of 13 points in 83 out of 114 districts. Democrats have out-performed Republicans regardless of the way that a district has previously voted, and have even done so by a greater margin in traditionally Republican areas.

A double digit swing of this magnitude has only been approached once in recent history: in 2006 when the Democrats won the house by 8 percentage points, with a net gain of 30 seats. Democrats currently need 23 seats to swing the house.  

But again, political science is not an entirely numerical affair. If it were, the current midterms would be contended for the democrats trying to secure a cooperative legislative branch. Democrats most noticeably picked up the most egregious of upsets in counties that were previously exclusively Republican. Connor Lamb’s victory in a county that had voted 20 points in favor of Trump, at the heart of Trump country is one of the most recent.

Even more, Paul Ryan announced that he would not be running for re-election, an unsurprising turn given the widespread criticism he drew from nearly every edge of his own party, not to mention the ire he drew from other parties. The recent political state of the Republican party has led some mainstays to question their allegiance, and with Paul Ryan, being one of the few linchpins keeping the party together, gone, this could be a sign that more Americans are losing faith in the political race.