Well, there’s been a spate of stories about nervous Democrats fearing a 2018 surprise, just like the 2016 surprise, along with reports of some races tightening, making Democrats even more nervous. These are stories that have to be written I suppose but it’s still hard to see how the situation is changing in a big way at this point. The overall playing field is not contracting, it’s expanding as the GOP rushes in to try to defend seats they didn’t even think they’d have to worry about.
And we have this from Charlie Cook, as experienced and astute an observer of elections, particularly House elections, as we have. Cook observes in his latest column:
“With 12 days to go before the midterm elections, there are plenty of reasons to believe that we know the general directions that the House, Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative elections will go, just not the degrees….
In the House, will the Democratic gain be above or below the 30-35 seat range? In the contests for governorships, will Democratic gains be closer to five seats or to eight or 10? In terms of state legislative seats gained, is it closer to 400 or to 700? And in chambers controlled, will it be closer to a half-dozen chambers flipping from red to blue or is it closer to a dozen?
For once, it is the fight for control of the House that is getting more attention than for the Senate, and a national survey conducted for The Cook Political Report and Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications, in conjunction with Manship School Fellow James Carville, underscores that movement in favor of Democrats in the House. While among registered voters nationally, Democrats have a 7-point lead over the GOP in terms of the generic-congressional-ballot test, 45 to 38 percent, among voters in the 72 districts considered most competitive by The Cook Political Report, Democrats had an 11-point lead, 43 to 32 percent. When those who were undecided but leaning toward a party were included, Democrats were still ahead by 11 points, 45 to 34 percent. An Oct. 15-21 Washington Post-Shar School poll in 69 competitive districts released this week put Democrats ahead for Congress as well, though by a 3-point margin, 50 to 47 percent….
A generally accepted rule of thumb is that Democrats need a lead of at least seven points in the national popular vote for the House, matching the generic ballot number in the CPR/Manship School poll. The RealClearPolitics average of national polls is 7.5 percent, while Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight average is 8.3 percent. But when you look exclusively at the most competitive districts, not at the slam-dunk seats where parties waste votes by running up the score, and keeping in mind that only a handful of the competitive seats are held by Democrats, a generic lead for Democrats of 3 points, as the Washington Post/Schar School poll shows, or of 11 points, as the CPR/Manship School polls indicates, would both indicate Democrats having an advantage in terms of control of the House.
This top-down, macro-political view of the House matches a more race-by-race, micro-political analysis, starting with Alabama’s 1st District and going through Wyoming’s at-large seat, suggesting that Democratic gains in the 30- to 35-seat range, more than the 23 needed to tip control, are likely to occur.”
OK, now you can get back to worrying.