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Expand chart
Notes: Chart excludes districts in Pennsylvania because the district boundaries were redrawn for 2018. Cook race ratings are as of Sept. 6, 2018; Data: 2016 American Community Survey, Cook Political Report and Daily Kos Elections; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

The House districts with the closest races in the midterm elections tend to be more educated than the rest of the country. Of the 30 districts currently rated as "tossups" by Cook Political Report, two thirds have a higher prevalence of college degrees than the national average.

Why it matters: It's yet another sign of potential midterm trouble for Republicans, since 28 of those races have a Republican incumbent and President Trump did best with people without college degrees. Strategists from both parties think it'll come down to how suburban voters react to Trump.

The backstory: A Pew survey in March 2018 showed that Trump's approval was highest among those who had never been to college, and a FiveThirtyEight analysis in November 2016 found that Hillary Clinton excelled in higher-educated counties.

What they're saying:

  • Democratic operatives say Trump is toxic in the suburbs, and they believe their message of standing up to Trump performs best with educated voters.
  • Republican strategists, however, believe most of the voters in these districts are still Republicans, and that they'll vote to stick with GOP policies regardless of how they feel about Trump's rhetoric.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
16 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.