The Rushmore Report – Predicting Senate Elections of 2018


The 2018 midterm elections are barely three months away, so it’s time for an updated prediction on how the elections will go. We will focus on the United States Senate, where Republicans hold a tenuous 51-49 advantage. If Democrats can flip just two seats, the Trump agenda will come to a grinding halt. Congress will get nothing done – which is only slightly less than they are accomplishing right now. So where do things stand? If the elections were held today, which party would emerge in control of the Senate? Which seats are most likely to switch hands? We have answers.

Conservative commentators are fond of saying that Democrats have far more seats up for election than Republicans, putting them more at risk. And while that is true, most of these seats are safe. If Abraham Lincoln came back from the dead, he wouldn’t be able to take states such as New York, California, Minnesota, and Washington from Democratic hands.

So here’s where we stand. Republicans will have at least 48 seats and Democrats at least 44. That assumes that the states that lean toward one direction or the other do not surprise. So, eight states will make the difference.

Best case for Republicans – 56

Best case for Democrats – 52

Range for Republicans: 48-56 seats

Range for Democrats: 44-52 seats

Now, let’s get specific. According to the reliable Cook Report, these are the eight seats that could go either way: Nevada, Arizona, North Dakota, Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Florida, and West Virginia. Four of those currently have a Democratic senator; four have a Republican.

Here are my predictions for each of these states, based on historic data and the latest trends.

Likely to switch from Democratic hands to Republican: North Dakota, Indiana, Florida

Likely to switch from Republican hands to Democratic: Nevada

Likely to stay as is: Arizona, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia

Likelihood I got all this right: not high

Conclusion

With Democrats picking up one seat (Nevada) and Republicans picking up three (North Dakota, Indiana, Florida), this will represent a net increase of two seats for Republicans.

Current Scorecard

  • Republicans – 51
  • Democrats – 49

New Scorecard

  • Republicans – 53
  • Democrats – 47

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