Jul 24, 2018

Bad news for Trump: Rising GOP chance of losing House

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."

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.

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Here's a split screen for the ages: While House Democrats are impeaching President Trump, he'll be firing up supporters at an election rally in Michigan.

Why it matters: This is the perfect encapsulation of the impeachment process.

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Trump rallies Michigan supporters minutes into his impeachment

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump called his impeachment a "political suicide march for the Democratic Party" as the House of Representatives cast two fateful votes Wednesday night.

The big picture: Trump became America's third president to be impeached after the House voted on charges of abuse of power and obstruction. But supporters remained unfazed at a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, showing up through slushy snow wearing MAGA hats and "deplorables" gear to get a look at the president.

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There's no chance of big climate legislation moving these days, but 2020 is nonetheless a crucial year for Democrats hoping those odds change post-election.

Driving the news: House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats will unveil sweeping draft legislation this month. And by the end of March, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is slated to unveil its own policy recommendations.

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