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House Call: By the Numbers

 

https://www.realpeopletalkingpolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/U.S.-CAPITAL-BUILDING-3.jpgWhat is the real final Democrat count in the House of Representatives? None of the presentations, of election information, make the House situation obvious. They could all use a remedial course in the visual presentation of quantitative information. The RealClearPolitics elections House results page is about the best, but allow me to make the situation really clear, laying out the numbers and then giving the historical context.

Running the Numbers:

As of Wednesday evening, there were several undeclared races. These, not displayed in the data summaries, are the source of confusion. So, here are the House facts, by the numbers, as of the evening of 7 November 2018:

222 Democrats have won,

197 Republicans have won, so

419 races are won, of 435, so

16 are undecided.

The RealClearPolitics House page shows the 16 House races that are not called. The Republicans are ahead in 9 of these, so the best case for Republicans is a loss of 7 more seats. This will make the next Congress:

229 Democrats: 206 Republicans best case

238 Democrats: 197 Republicans worst case

Compare this to the start of the current, 115th Congress:

194 Democrats: 241 Republicans

35 seats, best case, 44 seats, worst case, will be lost by the President’s party in the House of Representatives. [UPDATE, 8 November: the Republicans decreased from 9 to 7 races with small leads. This does not change the upper or lower limits laid out above.]

Additionally, the Senate Republicans have gained one to three seats, depending on the outcome of the Arizona election, and of the projected run-off in Mississippi, which has a 50 percent rule, forcing a runoff between the two top vote-getters if no one initially breaks through the 50 percent plus 1 vote barrier. [UPDATE, 8 November: Broward County, Florida, is back in the news, determined to count until the Democrats win the Senate seat, and possibly the governorship. This has prompted Senator Marco Rubio to come out swinging on social media, one of his Tweets shown below. The 100% reporting claims on websites is simply not accurate.]

Historical Context:

There is much spin around the numbers, driven by support, opposition, or contempt for President Trump. Yet, the relevant facts are readily available. Consider every Presidency, starting with Truman, looking only at the first term midterm Congressional elections. There have some truly dramatic midterm elections before the Truman presidency, but leave them aside, on the initial assumption that the political environment changes over time.

  • Presidents losing both House and Senate seats: Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, Carter, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, Obama
  • Presidents losing only House seats: Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Trump
  • Presidents holding or gaining both House and Senate seats: George W. Bush

No president has lost Senate seats, while holding or gaining House seats. The 2002 midterm electorate was driven, in the immediate aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, by distrust of the Democratic Party, as weak on national defense and law enforcement.

Five other presidents join President Trump in the range of 35 to 44 House seat losses.

  •  Truman: 45
  • Johnson: 47
  • Ford: 48
  • Clinton: 52
  • Obama: 63

President Trump will gain 1 to 3 Senate seats, joining four other presidents. This compares to:

  • Kennedy: 3
  • Nixon: 2
  • Reagan: 1
  • G.W. Bush 2

Those are the un-spun numbers, from which I invite you to argue, diagnose, and prognosticate.

Published in Elections
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There are 37 comments.

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  1. Member

    Anyone who claims this was a good day for the GOP is fooling themselves, but there is no denying the Democrats missed a big opportunity. I will wait for more information rather than trying to guess exactly why this was.

    • #1
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:10 pm
    • 3 likes
  2. Inactive

    Given that 43 Republican House members had decided to resign, it seems that those resignations have a great deal to do with the situation.

    I also think the Republican leadership is fooling itself on health care issue. Right now, fifty two percent of all Republicans find there is not so much to hate about MediCare for All. In the fly over region of the nation, health care issue was a major concern. (Whereas in big coastal cities, the immigration issue was much more of a focus.) The current system of draining people’s pocket books to keep Big Insurance Companies and their executives massively profitable, while so much of their energy is denying people what they paid for, still pisses people off.

    ObamaCare is more popular now than it was before Trump took office. That is one huge accomplishment wrought by all the wrangling over the issue. And a sorry state of affairs that is.

    • #2
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:19 pm
    • 10 likes
  3. Member

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Given that 43 Republican House members had decided to resign, it seems that those resignations have a great deal to do with the situation.

    I also think the Republican leadership is fooling itself on health care issue. Right now, fifty two percent of all Republicans find there is not so much to hate about MediCare for All. In the fly over region of the nation, health care issue was a major concern. (Whereas in big coastal cities, the immigration issue was much more of a focus.) The current system of draining people’s pocket books to keep Big Insurance Companies and their executives massively profitable, while so much of their energy is denying people what they paid for, still pisses people off.

    ObamaCare is more popular now than it was before Trump took office. That is one huge accomplishment wrought by all the wrangling over the issue. And a sorry state of affairs that is.

    Since 2016, opposition to illegal immigration has reached the stage where it’s now a nationwide issue. But I do agree that Republicans are a little tone deaf to the fact that Obamacare is not wildly popular, but the old system wasn’t either; in fact, many people just hated dealing with their insurance company and/or HMO. That doesn’t mean these disgruntled people were always right or never unrealistic; it doesn’t make the companies always wrong. Too many conservatives, though, spin a dream world story about before the bureaucracy, why, old Doc Jenkins would drive 40 miles through the snow to deliver a baby, in return for a chicken and two dozen eggs if Doc thought that’s all they could afford. 

    Liberals aren’t the only ones who ever live in bubbles. 

    • #3
    • November 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm
    • 11 likes
  4. Member

    Mister D (View Comment):

    Anyone who claims this was a good day for the GOP is fooling themselves, but there is no denying the Democrats missed a big opportunity. I will wait for more information rather than trying to guess exactly why this was.

    It’s a mixed bag of results. No one over performed the reasonable expectations given the set ups. Arguably on points you can reasonably call this a tie, but that doesn’t mean both side benefit equally from a tie. I think I would have to hear more about how things shook out in State races for Governor’s and Legislatures? Was that also split? 

    My opinion stated before the election is that for Dems to have any level of victory they needed to win the House hadly (which they have) and either sweep in the State races or take the Senate. If they swept the states, held Republicans to 51 seats it would be a Blue Wave. Winning the Senate too would mean Tsumnami. Having gotten like 1.5 out of three I would call it push. And given the expectations this is a minor victory for Republicans in the moment. 

    Going forward I don’t know. Trump’s structural flaws seem unresolved and Democrats showing in the Rust Belt does not portend well for him. Even the much scoffed at Beto came in very close to Cruz in Texas. While he lost I don’t think people should ignore his margins. And Dems made gains in House seats in Texas didn’t they? In another two years if they buckle down they might be able to make a better showing of it. He was no Wendy Davis. He was a contender. 

    • #4
    • November 7, 2018 at 10:47 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Moderator

    Sorry, Valiuth, Beto lost because he ran on a platform suitable for a democratic dumpster fire like Illinois in Texas. Democrats seem to love doing that.

    • #5
    • November 7, 2018 at 11:06 pm
    • 7 likes
  6. Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Mister D (View Comment):

    Anyone who claims this was a good day for the GOP is fooling themselves, but there is no denying the Democrats missed a big opportunity. I will wait for more information rather than trying to guess exactly why this was.

    Wise policy. Now, what real clear information would you seek?

    By the way, since Senate Majority Leader McConnell once again chose the minimum gain strategy, with the rationale that it was too risky to shoot for a 60 vote majority, good candidates were put on diet rations and the signal was given nationally not to pour money and effort their direction.

    That strategy both gave McConnell 1 to 3 more supporters, and ensured the other risk, the risk to his uncontested power and agenda, would not materialize — that he would not be so successful in adding members that he worked himself out of his very nice office.

    Nor would McConnell and the old guard be exposed to a no-excuse environment. “I’d love to, I know we promised you for a decade, but the Senate rules… oh, wait.”

    Oh, and once again, the old white Senator from Kentucky put another younger, accomplished, military veteran, black man on limited campaign rations, rather then pushing him as a face of the historic Republican Party. Just like he did to retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Darryl Glenn in 2016.

    • #6
    • November 7, 2018 at 11:57 pm
    • 4 likes
  7. Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Sorry, Valiuth, Beto lost because he ran on a platform suitable for a democratic dumpster fire like Illinois in Texas. Democrats seem to love doing that.

    Which is why he should have polled no more than %40 . That this race was even close is a real concern. 

    • #7
    • November 8, 2018 at 2:44 am
    • 3 likes
  8. Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Sorry, Valiuth, Beto lost because he ran on a platform suitable for a democratic dumpster fire like Illinois in Texas. Democrats seem to love doing that.

    Which is why he should have polled no more than %40 . That this race was even close is a real concern. A win is a win but the future is coming some day. 

    • #8
    • November 8, 2018 at 2:46 am
    • 1 like
  9. Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    My stubby pencil, back of the envelope take on the mail-in ballots still needing to be counted in Arizona. Labor intensive, so no instant gratification. Could be days.

    Not interested in “news reports,” just the numbers on the AZ Secretary of State website. If I’m reading those wrong, please chime in with correct numbers, from the official source.

    • #9
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:09 am
    • 2 likes
  10. Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    The Democrats picked up a net 6 governorships, so the new balance will be:

    23 Dem: 27 Rep

    • #10
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:11 am
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    I thought Michigan would get a Democrat governor because it has been DRDR, now D. Blanchard, D (2terms), Engler, R(3terms), Granholm,D (2 terms, limited), Snyder,R (2 terms, limited). I expect Whitmer to serve 2 terms. Then a high probability of a Republican. The Michigan Legislature stayed Republican. Stabenow won because of basically 3 counties out of 83, the Detroit area and Ann Arbor (UofM, very liberal area) 

    • #11
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:56 am
    • 2 likes
  12. Thatcher

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    Given that 43 Republican House members had decided to resign, it seems that those resignations have a great deal to do with the situation.

     

    I’m glad you mentioned this. Rush brought it up yesterday, too. Some of those resignations I wasn’t happy about (Gowdy comes to mind). Others I could have cared less. We need to do a better job with our new candidates. I know both parties rely too heavily on incumbency, but if the Dems can win with a new candidate then so can we. Now that I’m part time I guess I need to get off my butt and help out. Of course where I live (Wake County, NC), we are getting an influx of blue staters that is changing our landscape color, I’m afraid. 

    • #12
    • November 8, 2018 at 4:32 am
    • 3 likes
  13. Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Too many conservatives, though, spin a dream world story about before the bureaucracy, why, old Doc Jenkins would drive 40 miles through the snow to deliver a baby, in return for a chicken and two dozen eggs if Doc thought that’s all they could afford. 

    Funny story but concierge medicine is on the rise. Rather than accept insurance, you pay a monthly fee to your doctor that covers well visits and portions of diagnostic visits.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2017/11/27/why-the-future-of-high-quality-primary-care-is-concierge-medicine/amp/

    • #13
    • November 8, 2018 at 9:34 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Sorry, Valiuth, Beto lost because he ran on a platform suitable for a democratic dumpster fire like Illinois in Texas. Democrats seem to love doing that.

    Yah, I agree, but he didn’t lose as badly as he should have given that he did run that way in Texas. What did Cruz win by in his last election? Like Rocky he went the distance, in a fight that should have been a walk for Cruz. But it wasn’t. Cruz had to scramble, extra money had to be spent. 

    You know the old joke “How did you go broke?” “A little at a time at first, then all at once.” Well that is what might be in the works here. 

    • #14
    • November 8, 2018 at 9:47 am
    • 1 like
  15. Member

    The “good night” in the Senate has to be put in context of 2006 and 2012. This class of Senators should never have so many Democrats in the first place. If Republicans had won the races they ought in those years, several of those seats would have been Republican going in and the news would be that they lost one (Nevada) or maybe two (Arizona), without putting the majority in any danger. Looking at the states won/lost, this would have been a normal result for a midterm against the headwinds. 

    If this class had come up in a really good Republican year, Nevada might have held, Arizona wouldn’t be close, and we’d have picked up MT, WV, and at least one or two from WI/OH/MI/MN/PA. 

    Still, it left the Senate in a pretty good place. They clawed back some of that lost ground in this class, which may make it easier to throw money elsewhere in six years. It gives McConnell a stronger majority for more controversial confirmations. It makes it a lot harder for Democrats to take the Senate in 2020. And if they do, Manchin is effectively leashed — and they’d probably only win with others like him.

    • #15
    • November 8, 2018 at 3:16 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Sinema, the Democrat, has taken a small lead in Arizona, as of Thursday evening. There are 100s of thousands of mail-in ballots left to count. This is because they are not opened and scanned into the voting machines until Election Day. In that way, no one could know how the election is going and try to influence the vote with the information.

    • #16
    • November 8, 2018 at 5:17 pm
    • 4 likes
  17. Member

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Sorry, Valiuth, Beto lost because he ran on a platform suitable for a democratic dumpster fire like Illinois in Texas. Democrats seem to love doing that.

    Which is why he should have polled no more than %40 . That this race was even close is a real concern.

    Andrew Gillum campaigned on raising over 1 billion dollars through increased taxes and lost by only .4% in a state that overwhelmingly passed restrictions on raising income and property taxes by 2:1 margins. This isn’t even considering his radical positions on other issues, like the 2nd amendment, which should have alienated him further. Progressive candidates like Beto and Gillum shouldn’t have gotten as close as they did.

    • #17
    • November 9, 2018 at 5:53 am
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Andrew Gillum campaigned on raising over 1 billion dollars through increased taxes and lost by only .4% in a state that overwhelmingly passed restrictions on raising income and property taxes by 2:1 margins.

    And that should raise serious questions about voting.

    Not about Rs vs Ds in national elections.

    There are serious issues here that aren’t about Trump or anything else.

    I didn’t vote because of Trump. I voted because of Gillum. Unlike a good deal of people on this website, I actually take the threat of socialism’s popularity in the Democrat party seriously.

    Want to know what conclusions I draw? That in spite the cold war and fighting socialism, communism, and dictatorships all over the world, we turned a blind and uncritical eye to the people entering our country and educating are youth.

    I have every reason to look at my elders and point an accusatory finger at you for making traditional Americans fight tooth and nail for the very ideals that that generation claims America IS (an idea! Not a nation!)

    So no, not Trump’s fault a posture in TX and a socialist in FL ran such tight races.

    • #18
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:07 am
    • 4 likes
  19. Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Andrew Gillum campaigned on raising over 1 billion dollars through increased taxes and lost by only .4% in a state that overwhelmingly passed restrictions on raising income and property taxes by 2:1 margins.

    And that should raise serious questions about voting.

    Do you have evidence of extensive election rigging?

    Not about Rs vs Ds in national elections.

    There are serious issues here that aren’t about Trump or anything else.

    More than happy to see you provide that case.

    I didn’t vote because of Trump. I voted because of Gillum. Unlike a good deal of people on this website, I actually take the threat of socialism’s popularity in the Democrat party seriously.

    How virtuous of you. Such bravery, much wow. But you are one person. You aren’t all Florida voters.

    Want to know what conclusions I draw? That in spite the cold war and fighting socialism, communism, and dictatorships all over the world, we turned a blind and uncritical eye to the people entering our country and educating are youth.

    Do you have evidence that it is the immigrants voting this way? The last I checked immigration was greatly restricted from the 1920s to the 1980s and yet the USA managed to pass all kinds of progressive/socialistic policies like the minimum wage, medicare, social security, etc.. Seems like Americans are more than happy to enact socialism on their own.

    Also aren’t parents the very people who educate their children the most. They are the ones that spend the most time with their offspring. Also parents have influence over their children’s education through school boards for crying out loud. Perhaps parents should be the ones blamed for not caring enough about their children by your metrics.

    I have every reason to look at my elders and point an accusatory finger at you for making traditional Americans fight tooth and nail for the very ideals that that generation claims America IS (an idea! Not a nation!)

    The definition of elder must have had its age requirement lowered considerably if I am an elder.

    So no, not Trump’s fault a posture in TX and a socialist in FL ran such tight races.

    Where did I say it was Trump’s fault in this thread?

    What I do know is that Trump polls worse than his predecessors, by considerable margins, with suburban voters and that in the two aforementioned races the GOP candidates did run campaigns that emphasized the Trump agenda, DeSantis more than Cruz, and the races were closer than they should have been given the circumstances.

    Perhaps focusing on declining demographic groups isn’t a winning strategy in the long run—especially when it means losing other demographics that are growing.

    • #19
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:31 am
    • 1 like
  20. Reagan

    While I appreciate Clifford’s analysis in this OP, I think that it misses one point.

    Historically, the electorate in off year elections is whiter, older, and more conservative. We have lost historically Republican seats for the first time in decades, such as SC-1, GA-6, OK-5, and NM-2.

    The gross Democratic vote nationally for the House of Representatives was 6% higher than the Republican votes. This is a disaster of epic proportions.

    In 2010, we took a huge number of legislative chambers, which lead us to control redistricting leading (finally!) to a Republican gerrymandering in general such as in NC and PA (while Democrats did their gerrymanders in IL and MD).

    Despite very favorable Congressional maps, we still lost control of the House.

    The Republican Party has the better policies by far. But it appears that we had the worst midterm election since the post-Watergate 1974 midterms. The factor I submit is Trump the person, not the Trump policies. Trump was right, this election was all about him. And the voters of the United States have clearly rejected Trump. I submit that it would be best for our country and party for Trump to declare victory and to not run for re-election.

    • #20
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:35 am
    • 2 likes
  21. Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    But it appears that we had the worst midterm election since the post-Watergate 1974 midterms.

    2006?

    • #21
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:38 am
    • Like
  22. Member

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Do you have evidence of extensive election rigging?

    Did I say anything about fraud?

    If anything, I’m implying that demographic replacement comes with voting realities.

    • #22
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:41 am
    • 3 likes
  23. Member

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Also aren’t parents the very people who educate their children the most. They are the ones that spend the most time with their offspring

    Ha ha ha! What country do YOU live in?

    Public schools and day care raise children in a country that worships the almighty GDP so much that women barely have a choice in the matter.

    • #23
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:44 am
    • 3 likes
  24. Member

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    Perhaps focusing on declining demographic groups isn’t a winning strategy in the long run—especially when it means losing other demographics that are growing.

    So we should join them in pushing socialism.

    Excellent gameplan.

    • #24
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:46 am
    • 2 likes
  25. Reagan

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    But it appears that we had the worst midterm election since the post-Watergate 1974 midterms.

    2006?

    There is a good argument both ways as to which was worse for us, 2006 or 2018.

    The gross percentage difference of votes in 2006 was 8% for the Democrats, and it currently stands at 6% in 2018, however California’s vote totals may take it to 7%.

    On the other hand, we lost only 31 seats in 2006, while we will likely lose 36-38 seats this year.

    I think that the biggest distinction was that 2006 was in 6th year of the W administration, while 2018 is in the 2nd year of the Trump administration, and the second term midterms are usually bad for an administration.

    Good points both ways.

    • #25
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:50 am
    • 2 likes
  26. Member

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    What I do know is that Trump polls worse than his predecessors, by considerable margins, with suburban voters

    This demographic is also the one most likely to internalize feelings of white guilt, privilege, and misguided compassion.

    I am an educated, white, suburban mom. You think I don’t know we are a bunch of sentimental idiots?

    So we should embrace white guilt and destructive compassion in order to win women struggling with survivors guilt for being born wealthy and privileged?

    • #26
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:54 am
    • 4 likes
  27. Member

    Well answered, Gary.

    • #27
    • November 9, 2018 at 6:54 am
    • 1 like
  28. Member

    My point, CBA, is that the only way to get those votes we need is to fundamentally change the party platform. I’m not certain even that would do it as Rs are considered evil and the Dems are to ingrained as DEFAULT.

    I’m not up for that kind of altering what we believe just to get votes. To be specific, embracing a universal social safety net, white guilt & privilege, and our country as the world’s homeless shelter.

    If that’s the gameplan, I’m out.

    • #28
    • November 9, 2018 at 7:01 am
    • 3 likes
  29. Reagan

    Stina (View Comment):

    Could Be Anyone (View Comment):
    What I do know is that Trump polls worse than his predecessors, by considerable margins, with suburban voters

    This demographic is also the one most likely to internalize feelings of white guilt, privilege, and misguided compassion.

    I am an educated, white, suburban mom. You think I don’t know we are a bunch of sentimental idiots?

    So we should embrace white guilt and destructive compassion in order to win women struggling with survivors guilt for being born wealthy and privileged?

    This sounds like the beginning of an excellent OP. Please expand on this.

    I assert that Trump’s policies are not our problems, the problem is Trump the person, not just his personality quirks, but his psychological failings.

    • #29
    • November 9, 2018 at 7:08 am
    • 2 likes
  30. Reagan

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Well answered, Gary.

    This is what I love about Ricochet.

    After listening to Morning Joe, I made an assertion that this was our worst midterm loss since 1974, and Saint Augustine politely challenged me about 2006.

    I checked it out. Doggone it, there are strong arguments that 2006 was worse than 2018. Reasonable people could disagree. I made my case, but I will likely not argue so strongly that 2018 was our worst midterm since 1974 so blithely in the future.

    After I made my case for 2018 being worst, Saint Augustine was unfailingly gracious. What a generous person! You don’t find this graciousness on Facebook and elsewhere. Well played.

    • #30
    • November 9, 2018 at 7:19 am
    • 2 likes
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