In two weeks, Americans will go to the polls to decide the vast majority of state legislative seats in the country — 82 percent, in fact. A number of political prognosticators have turned their eyes to the states. In recent weeks, Daily Kos, Washington Post, Crystal Ball, and 538 have all weighed in with projections. Unlike some, we’re really optimistic about what can happen in two weeks. We think Democrats are poised to both win back approximately 14 state legislative chambers and defeat 9 Republican supermajorities. We also think that if the “blue wave” pans out, a whole bunch more states could get interesting.
In total, we think Democrats could win at least 124 State Senate seats and at least 372 State House seats. This is all dependent, of course, on Democrats closing in the next two weeks. See below on how they can do that with your help.
Here’s Where We Think We Can Win
Central to what will happen on the state level on November 6 is the generic ballot, as we wrote a few months ago. With an average hovering around D+8 or D+9, we expect the results we’ve described above. You can look at the competitiveness of states across the country with our unique interactive map at EveryDistrict.us.
· Colorado State Senate — See map.
· Connecticut State Senate (currently an 18–18 tie) — See map.
· Iowa State House — See map.
· Maine State Senate — See map.
· Minnesota State House — See map.
· New Hampshire State Senate — See map.
· New Hampshire State House
· New York State Senate
· Kansas State House
· Missouri State Senate — See map.
· Missouri State House — See map.
· North Carolina State Senate
· North Carolina State House
· Pennsylvania State Senate — See map.
Where Something Interesting Might Happen
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Democrats have had unexpected results with big swings toward Democratic candidates. Where might we see some interesting results if Democrats keep up their big swings in key places?
Iowa, which swung sharply to Trump, might elect a Democratic governor and two new Democratic Representatives. If that swing works its way down the ballot, look for both chambers to be in play.
Montana and Missouri are two states with good Democratic fundamentals at the state legislative level. If McCaskill and Tester break big, expect some wins there.
North Carolina is a little bit of an unknown due to redistricting. But we definitely expect gains and perhaps even a play for control of a chamber.
Wisconsin has seen some big Democratic swings in special elections, putting the State Senate and State House in play. If we see the sort of D+12 swing we saw earlier this year in Wisconsin and if Tammy Baldwin and Tony Evers win big, don’t rule out a tight race for control of the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly.
Two weeks out, that’s how we see things. On Election Night, we’ll be tracking the most important state legislative seats across the country. Follow our Twitter account to find the tracker and get live updates.
What Would This Mean?
When we helped 10 of the 15 Democrats who won in the Virginia State House in 2017, the stakes were clear: We were electing legislators with a commitment to expand Medicaid and fight for fair elections. In 2018, Democrats are fighting for many of the same things: access to healthcare, improved education funding, an end to voter purges and gerrymandering, and other local issues that are the same as in our neighborhoods: transportation, public safety, a government that works for all of us. Change in all these areas is possible if these candidates win.
What Will Make the Difference in the Last Two Weeks?
This is a forecast. It is a prediction. It looks at no votes and carries no weight if Democrats do not knock on doors, talk to their friends and family about voting, and raise money to make up the still-large difference with the Republicans on the money race. So, if you’re interested in making these gains happen, do these two things right now:
1. Find a competitive race near you and go canvassing! Click here to find a volunteer opportunity near you.
2. Give to 20 of the most competitive state legislative races across the country, through EveryDistrict’s Two for Twenty campaign: Crowdpac.com/c/EveryDistrict2for20.
In these waning days, candidates use this money on digital programs and on additional canvassing. These are two of the most effective ways to reach and persuade voters out there.
We earnestly, honestly, believe that Democrats can win every district that we’re forecasting right now. But nothing is written. Make it happen over the next two weeks.
Beneath the Fold: More Info for Election Junkies
What’s Our Methodology?
We calculate the competitiveness of districts based on past statewide elections, creating a Legislative District Index (LDI). This index tells us how big of a Democratic swing is needed to flip those seats. Right now, that methodology is very optimistic, estimating gains of 182 Senate seats and 620 House seats because the generic ballot lead is so large — remember, previous Democratic waves have happened with smaller generic ballot leads.
But three variables temper against these lofty expectations: recruitment, fundraising, and top of the ballot dynamics. Despite the positive recruitment stories, Democrats still missed on some important races, particularly in states where chambers aren’t in play.
Many Democrats are still behind in the money race. Some races may fall out of reach because we have not done enough to raise money despite the dollars flowing in. See above on how to change that for 20 critical races.
In some cases, top of the ballot dynamics also lead to a downgrade. Our model suggests there is a lot of potential upside in Missouri and Montana, but we do not expect Tester or McCaskill to run away with those races, hence they fall into this third category of states to watch. Strong Democratic performance in Ohio and Pennsylvania statewide could power some great victories there.
All these factors have led to our final prediction that Democrats could win at least 124 State Senate seats and at least 372 State House seats.
What Do Other People Think?
As we mentioned above, a lot of people are throwing their predictions out there. Here are links to other predictions and discussions. We’ll be comparing on election night:
Questions? Comments? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.