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Democrats now have their best shot at winning the House, according to Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball that just shifted 17 races in their favor.

Why it matters: It's the first time this cycle that the analysts at the University of Virginia Center for Politics are giving Democrats better than a 50% chance of winning the House. "[T]he Democrats now look like soft favorites to win a House majority with a little more than 100 days to go."

Expand chart
Data: University of Virginia Center for Politics; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
  • Sabato, along with his Crystal Ball team at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, has been among the most conservative analysts, repeatedly telling us that House control was a coin flip, despite widespread projections of a Democratic takeover.
  • "This president is not popular, and no one believes there is any chance the GOP comes out of this election with more seats than they hold now," the Crystal Ball's Kyle Kondik writes.

The big picture: Remember all the trends we've been telling you about...

  • Trump's presidential approval has hovered in the low 40s for months
  • Democrats have consistently led the House generic ballot
  • Democratic candidates have outperformed in most special elections
  • Republicans are defending 41 seats without an incumbent, compared to Democrats' 22 seats
  • David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report recently moved 11 races toward Democrats, and tells us he sees a “blue wave” on Election Day, driven by suburban professionals.

Why it matters: The broad trend lines are bad for Republicans.

  • The number of districts in play is rising fast, and the vast majority are Republican seats. Numerous at-risk seats is the essential ingredient for a wave election. 
  • Democrats are raising more money overall than Republicans, which is exceptionally rare for a party out of power. Money can’t buy wins, but it sure as hell helps. 
  • Democrats have turned out in record numbers in elections since Trump won. This is the most constant and reliable sign of sustained momentum. 

Be smart: Republicans are counting on the strong economy, and could be helped by a lack of excitement among millennials and Hispanics. But presidential and party approval ratings are similar to those before past wave elections — bearish weather for the party in power.

  • But presidential and party approval ratings are similar to those before past wave elections — bearish weather for the party in power.
  • Go deeper: Sabato's Crystal Ball.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.