Why the unpopular GOP may still have the 2018 edge

Republicans will likely control the House after next year, even though more Democrats will get votes

By Matthew Rozsa

Published October 18, 2017 3:10PM (EDT)

Paul Ryan (Getty/Win McNamee)
Paul Ryan (Getty/Win McNamee)

Even though Democrats have a major statistical edge over Republicans going into the 2018 midterm elections, it's very likely that the GOP will still control the House of Representatives next year.

"We project that Republicans are likely to maintain control of the House even in a Democratic wave, unless Democrats have more than 55 percent of the national party preference — which no party has done in House races in decades," explained FairVote, a 501(c)(3), on Wednesday. "In a 50-50 year, Republicans would likely increase their share of House seats to more than 56 percent."

FairVote added, "Expect more than nine in ten incumbents to win in 2018, even with midterm election volatility."

FairVote also declared that, even though the 2018 midterm elections won't occur for 13 months and no candidates have been officially nominated yet, it can still project which party will win in 86 percent of the House elections.

These findings are particularly troublesome considering that, by most metrics, the Democrats should be at a considerable advantage right now. A new CNN poll found that Democrats have a 14-point lead over Republicans on a generic ballot, Trump has a 37 percent approval rating and the Republican Party is currently sharply divided between its comparatively moderate wing and the more staunchly right-wing faction.

One political projection group that doesn't quite share FairVote's certainty about the future is The Cook Political Report. This week they increased Democratic odds in 11 races to reflect the Republican Party's growing misfortunes, including seats in Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and two in California.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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2018 Midterm Elections Democrats Donald Trump Republicans