The Presidency is Close, Republicans Favored in Senate, Democrats Likely to Hold House

This year, the Presidency, US Senate and US House, and a couple of gubernatorial contests are up for grabs. CNalysis unveiled its forecasts for these top-of-the-ballot elections here on March 22nd.

According to our forecast right now, Democrats have a 54.2% chance of winning the presidency, with President Trump having a 43.9% chance of re-election. The doomsday scenario, also known as a 269-269 tie in the electoral college, has a 1.8% chance of occurring. This would also likely give Trump a second term, as Kyle Kondik at the Center for Politics explained here.

Like all of our other predictions, there are a few Toss-Ups in our predictions for the presidency. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, both states which voted for Barack Obama twice then Donald Trump in 2016, are listed as Toss-Ups. Arizona, a Democratic-trending state (one of the few that shifted leftward in 2016), is also a Toss-Up. The final Toss-Up is Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district, which voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. These will likely be the tipping point states in the electoral college. If Joe Biden does secure the Democratic nomination for President, which is nearly certain at this point, we’ll move Pennsylvania to Tilt D. Joe Biden has a favorite son advantage there, growing up in Scranton.

Our US Senate forecast has Republicans as the slight favorite, with a 57.5% chance of Republicans holding their majority, a 31.2% chance of a Democratic majority and a 11.3% chance of a 50-50 tie in the chamber. This result would mean that the Vice President would be the tiebreaker and give the President a de-facto majority in the upper chamber. Our forecast currently shows that Democrats will have a net gain in the upper chamber, with a current projected net gain of +1 seats: they are positioned to flip a seat in Colorado and Arizona, but lose their seat in Alabama, which they barely won in the 2017 special election.

Our US House forecast largely expects the chamber to remain controlled by the Democrats, with an 82.6% chance of a Democratic majority, and only a 17.4% chance of a Republican majority. This would continue the longstanding pattern of the US House not flipping in Presidential election years: the last time the chamber flipped control in a Presidential election year was 1952, when Ike Eisenhower won his first presidential election and his coattails helped Republicans flip the chamber. The Democrats have dominated in fundraising for the US House races since President Trump’s election, and that doesn’t look like it will change in the remaining fundraising quarters.

Right now Democrats look like they will have a net gain in the lower chamber as they are favored to flip TX-23, which is being vacated by Will Hurd, the only African-American Republican in the chamber, and NC-2 and 6, which were redrawn due to partisan gerrymandering and are now certain Democratic pickups because of their new partisan makeup.

There are 5 competitive gubernatorial elections this year in North Carolina, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont and Montana. Montana’s race is the most competitive: Governor Steve Bullock (D) is term-limited and running for the US Senate race there this year, but his Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney (D), who has been in Montana politics since the late 70’s, is running to succeed Bullock and prevent Republicans from creating a trifecta in the state government.

Governor Phil Scott (R) of Vermont, who is running for a 3rd two-year term, is also likely going to be running against a Lieutenant Governor, David Zuckerman (D), making the race the second most competitive gubernatorial race.

New Hampshire and North Carolina are tied for third in competitiveness. Both states have popular governors running for re-election: Governor Roy Cooper (D) of North Carolina and Governor Chris Sununu (R) of New Hampshire. Sununu’s Democratic opponent will be either Dan Feltes, the majority leader of the New Hampshire Senate, or Andru Volinsky, a member of the Executive Council of New Hampshire. Cooper is running against his own Lieutenant Governor, Dan Forest (R).

Finally, there is an outside chance a Democrat could win against West Virginia Governor Jim Justice (R), who was first elected as a Democrat in 2016 (Justice switched to the Republican Party in early 2017, just a few months into his term). West Virginia hasn’t elected a Republican Governor since 1996, and Democrats have a strong field of candidates to keep that tradition running, with State Senator Ron Stollings as, arguably, the strongest candidate.