Republicans had a surprisingly strong performance in the House elections in 2020, narrowing Democrat’s 35 seat lead to just 9. That gave the GOP an air of confidence heading into the 2022 election cycle. In February of 2021, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was so bullish that he said he’d bet his own house on a victory, and that there was no chance Democrats would win.
However, our analysis finds that while McCarthy’s caucus is the favorite, Democrats still have a fighting shot at holding the House of Representatives. They have benefitted from a series of fortuitous developments. Most importantly, this decade the congressional map will be far more competitive. Democrats have matched Republican gerrymandering in Texas and Georgia with their own maps in New York and New Jersey. The practice has drawbacks, as it reduces the number of competitive elections and means fewer voters are well represented, but the upswing for Democrats is that they no longer need to decisively win the national popular vote to take the House.
In the 2010s, they needed to win by around 3% to get the majority. Now it would likely require about a 0.5% lead. That will still be a challenge in 2022. History shows us that the party out of power in the midterms tends to perform quite well, and at launch (February 6th) Republicans have a 1.5% lead in the generic ballot.
The House Forecast uses data to break down the political battleground, and estimates which races are likely to be the most competitive. Every day, it runs 20,000 simulations of the election to project how likely both parties are to capture the majority and win each race. It has a similar foundation as the Senate Forecast, which was one of the most accurate in the nation in 2020.
The House Forecast was tested on the over 2,000 Congressional elections held since 2010 to ensure it was as accurate as possible. It successfully called over 96.5% of those races correctly. Considerable work was also taken to ensure it had as little bias towards either party as possible. Despite running tests in a decade with two historic polling misses, it still only had a 0.13% bias towards Democrats on average when projecting the final margin of victory in each race.
The margin of victory for each Congressional district is projected using seven primary indicators:
1. The Voting History of Each Congressional District
2. The Incumbent’s Performance in the Last Election
5. Political Experience of the Candidates
6. National Environment
7. First Round of Elections (For States with Runoffs)
In the early stages of the election, before candidates are finalized and good polling and fundraising data is available, it will be informed by the House ratings from the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball. For much more information on how the House Forecast works, click here. We also just launched a feature that breaks down the Political Battleground in the House for each State.
RacetotheWH launched in 2020 and correctly anticipated that Democrats would win both the Senate and White House as early as May, and that Biden would narrowly win Arizona and Georgia as early as June. On average, it was closer to the final result than the traditional gold standard, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. We are tracking the 2022 Senate Election, the Governor Elections, and feature full page forecast for many of the most important races in the election, including the Arizona Senate race and Georgia Governor election.
Updated – April 18th: We just added fundraising to the model for over 100 House Races, and updated the House Forecast. That includes a new fundraising tracker, an upgraded version of “Breaking Down the Projection”, and a cleaner table showing changes over the last 30 days.
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