So: How High the Wave?
It really is remarkable how much the story of the 2018 election has changed since election night. If there was any doubt there was a blue wave then, there isn’t now.
1. As shown below in the 538 seat tracker, the Democrats now look like they’re going to net 40 House seats. 40 seats! That’s a lot.
2. The Democrats now have an 8 point lead in the House popular vote according to the tracking spreadsheet kept by David Wasserman of Cook Political Report. That’s greater than the Republican popular vote lead in their big wave election of 2010 (or 1994 for that matter).
3. The Democrats did lose a net of 2 seats in the Senate but they faced a map heavily stacked against them. As Geoffrey Skelley and Julie Wolfe show on 538, Democrats strongly outperfomed the partisan lean of the states with Senate elections, including the 10 states carried by Trump that had Democratic incumbents.
4. Democrats made their greatest seat gains in suburban areas, but the data show that Democrats actually made greater margin gains in rural areas. It is also the case, as shown by Stan Greenberg in the New York Times, that Democrats not only made big gains among white college graduate women but made similar gains among white noncollege women. And they actually made very significant gains among white noncollege men, though of course that was from a very low base of support. None of this means Democrats are about to carry rural areas and the white working class. But it does mean that the margins Trump will need to win in 2020 among his best voter groups are under pressure.
Make no mistake: the blue wave was very high indeed. Democrats should take heart, as they prepare for the all-important 2020 election.