As we all head to the polls today, there’s been a months-long obsession from the media, pollsters, and pundits about the so-called blue wave. The Democrats have the edge in the generic ballot advantage, but in the races that will decide who will control the House—the Senate is a GOP lock—that advantage is worthless. Some of these races are within a point or two, making it statistically insignificant. The booming economy and the looming crisis at the border could buoy GOP chances. Yet, for some pollsters, they’re saying let’s hit the brakes for a second. Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics is one of those people I read as I enjoy his analyses on various elections. He went on a lengthy Twitter thread detailing that a) the GOP could hold the House; b) he looks for reasons why his projections could be wrong instead of the other way around; and c) the mainstream media “hivemind” assessment that the Democrats will retake the House should echo of the failures from the 2016 election.
He also noted that unlike 2006, Trump’s approval rating is better than Bush’s, the economy is doing well, and we’re not fighting a costly and unpopular war that was blasted all over television every night. He also adds that in many of these House races where the difference is between a point or two, there’s some “serious GOP DNA,” so expect those to break for the Republican, right? In short, it’s perfectly healthy to say we’ll see. And with the polls this tight, that’s what’s going to happen. We’ll wait and see.
Now, there are some who don't see a blue wave coming, like CNN's Jeff Zeleny. But be sure to tune into our live coverage for all the results to see if we'll be drinking liberal tears again, or be saddled with an antagonistic and unhinged Democratic House.
The most puzzling thing for me in this election (and the reason the scenario of Rs barely keeping/just barely losing the House keeps nagging at me) is this: the overall atmosphere isn't that atrocious for Republicans, and a lot of "big picture" signifiers of waves aren't here. 1/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
Like, if you compare it to 2006, Trump's job approval is substantially higher than Bush's 37%. The economy is significantly better. Republicans have about the same amount of baseline exposure in the House (i.e., Rs in D-leaning seats). 2/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
We haven't seen a massive surge in Democratic party identification. The enthusiasm gap is present, but not really of the magnitude that we've seen in the past. And we typically see a big break at the end. Maybe by the end of the day I'll eat my words here 3/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
But while I think this week's polls have been worse for Rs than last week's, we don't seem to have a massive, late shift. We have more than enough seats in play for Ds to take the House, and ultimately I think there's just too many fires for Rs to put them all out. 4/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
But we also have a LOT of House seats that are polling within a point or two. If we get even a *slight* break among undecideds toward Republicans they end up keeping a lot of those seats. Of course, the opposite is true as well. 5/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
But a *lot* of those seats also have some serious Republican DNA in them so I'd guess an R break is more likely than a D break(?) Anyway, this is what keeps me awake at night. If Rs end up holding, or losing by a seat or two, I think I'll look at this thread 6/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
and think "what the hell was I thinking?" Don't even get me started on the Senate, where I sort of feel like it will either be R+0 or R+5 without much room in the middle. But I guess that is what makes this fun. 7/7— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
Oh FFS people. Silver's polls-only model gives Rs close to a 1-in-4 chance of holding the House, and his overall model gives Rs roughly the chance of having three kids and having them all boys. Which I promise you happens. 8/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
Yet the mainstream Twitter hivemind seems almost unanimous in its assessment that Ds will take the House. If there's any lesson to be learned from 2016, it's that this should make us nervous. 9/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
Like, the way to do this stuff is NOT to sit around and look for reasons you could be right. It's to look for reasons that you could be wrong. That's part of the exercise I put myself through constructing scenarios with Ds winning 40 and Ds winning 20. 10/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
And it is surprisingly easy to construct either one. My hard count is D+32 right now, and I think that's about right but man. There are plenty of reasons to put it on the high side, which right-thinking Twitter has been dwelling on ad nauseum, 11/— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018
But there are also lots of indicators as to why it might come out on the low side as well. Again, if you learned nothing else from 2016, it should be that we ought to pay attention to those as well.— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) November 2, 2018