Two Weeks Left: Texas is a Toss-Up, 99% Chance of Democrats Holding the House

There’s not much time for Republicans to turn things around for themselves. With just 14 days before the election, it looks likely that there will be a massive win for the Democrats. Not just in the electoral college, but the US Senate, the US House, and state legislatures as well.

Electoral College

The undecided voters have consistently been breaking toward Biden throughout this first half of the month, as we can see by Biden’s increased vote share in the polling average. Two weeks ago, Biden was leading Trump by 9 points in the FiveThirtyEight polling average, and since then Biden has increased his polling margin to 11.

As a result, Biden has found himself polling in single digit races in states that Trump won handily in 2016: Montana, Missouri, Indiana to name a few. These are, of course, states we still expect Trump to win given his polling in the states.

One traditionally red state has caught our eye throughout this election cycle– Texas. Once a firmly Republican state, it has trended sharply leftward in the Trump era due to Trump’s poor standing with college-educated suburban voters, which are a large voting bloc in the Lone Star State. Texas was one of the few states that swung leftward in 2016 as a result.

Throughout the Trump era, Democrats have exceeded the expectations set for them by polling. In the RealClearPolitics polling average, Clinton was down in the state by 11.7%, but lost the state by 9% instead. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Democratic nominee Lupe Valdez (who was a very flawed candidate going against popular Republican incumbent Governor Greg Abbott) was losing in the RealClearPolitics polling average by 16.7%, but lost by 13.3% instead. A slightly larger polling error occurred in the 2018 Senate race as well, when Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke was down by 6.8% in the polls against Ted Cruz, but only lost by 2.6%.

Trump is currently up in Texas in the RealClearPolitics average by 4.4%, though we prefer looking at the FiveThirtyEight polling average given that they count far more polls and weigh them for quality — it has him up by 1.3%. Still, even if one were to apply the average polling error between the three aforementioned elections (3.43), it would show a very close race. Another issue for him in the RealClearPolitics average is that he has not once reached 50% in the average as of this writing, a feat that Cruz and Cornyn achieved in 2018 at this point two years ago.

Given how undecided voters have been skewing toward Biden and the close polling here, as well as the recent polling trend of underestimating Democratic support in the state (this does not mean it will certainly happen again), we see Texas as a Toss-Up right now.

  1. TX | Tilt R → Toss-Up

The odds of a Joe Biden victory in the Electoral College have gone from 73.6% to 74.9%, and the odds of a Donald Trump victory have gone down from 25.7% to 24.6%. The odds of a tie have gone down from 0.7% to 0.6%.

With these new odds, we are changing our rating for the US Senate.

  1. US Senate | Tilt D → Lean D

The Senate

Two weeks ago, we moved the North Carolina Senate race from Tilt Democrat to Toss-Up as Cal Cunningham’s truly cringeworthy sexts that he sent to his mistresses came to surface. We expected the polling to become narrower, and it has somewhat, but nowhere near enough to continue to hold this rating.

It’s not a mystery why this is: the race is simply overshadowed by the presidential race, which has earned much more attention. Still, it’s worth considering that in the Donald Trump era, sex scandals have lost their sway in elections.

Cal Cunningham, despite historically-sexy-gate, is still a slight favorite in the race.

Another race in the US Senate that saw a recent change in rating was in the regular Georgia election, where incumbent David Perdue (R) faces strong opposition from Jon Ossoff (D). Last week, we moved the race from Lean R to Tilt R. The day after our rating change, a poll from Quinnipiac showed Ossoff leading by 6 points at 51%, and a poll from SurveyUSA had Ossoff at 43%, losing by 3 points.

Of the polls conducted for this race since the beginning of this month, we’ve had an array of results ranging from Ossoff winning by 6 to Perdue winning by 8. The polls with those two extremes are of course outliers: most polls show a tight race. However, it’s becoming increasingly evident that Ossoff is closing the gap. Even Stacey Abrams didn’t enjoy polling this strong in her bid for the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia, which she lost by the skin of her teeth.

Ossoff also is killing Perdue in fundraising. Ossoff raised over $21.3M in the 3rd quarter while Perdue raised $5.6M, he spent $15.5M while Perdue spent $8.1M, and ended the quarter about even with Perdue, having $8.3M on hand while Perdue had $8.2M on hand.

Perdue also gave Ossoff attack ad material recently, deliberately mispronouncing Kamala Harris’ name in a diversifying Georgia. We have a hard time saying Perdue is the favorite given the polling, fundraising, and this blunder similar to George Allen’s “macaca” comment in 2006.

This race is a Toss-Up.

  1. NC-SEN | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  2. GA-SEN (Regular) | Tilt R → Toss-Up

The odds of a Democratic majority in the US Senate have gone up from 63.3% to 67.4%, while the odds of a Republican majority have gone down from 36.6% to 32.6%.

The House

After reviewing the Q3 FEC reports, we found one common pattern: Republicans are losing the money battle (still) in their bid to prevent Democrats from having a net gain in the US House. Badly. As a result of massive fundraising gaps, burn rates and poor polling for Republicans, we have 25 rating changes favoring Democrats. We also have 4 rating changes in favor of Republicans: two are out of pure caution (OR-04 & PA-17), one due to our overestimation of the Democratic nominee (CA-50), and one thanks to a bright spot in Republicans’ fight in the money race (UT-04).

  1. VA-02 | Lean D → Likely D
  2. AZ-06 | Tilt R → Toss-Up
  3. IA-02 | Tilt D → Lean D
  4. MT-AL | Tilt R → Toss-Up
  5. CA-10 | Likely D → Safe D
  6. IL-06 | Likely D → Safe D
  7. IL-14 | Lean D → Likely D
  8. MI-08 | Lean D → Likely D
  9. GA-06 | Lean D → Likely D
  10. GA-07 | Tilt D → Lean D
  11. NJ-03 | Lean D → Likely D
  12. NY-01 | Lean R → Tilt R
  13. NH-01 | Likely D → Safe D
  14. AR-02 | Lean R → Tilt R
  15. PA-16 | Safe R → Likely R
  16. NY-19 | Likely D → Safe D
  17. OH-10 | Safe R → Likely R
  18. ME-02 | Likely D → Safe D
  19. SC-02 | Safe R → Likely R
  20. MI-03 | Likely R → Lean R
  21. TX-03 | Likely R → Lean R
  22. WA-03 | Likely R → Lean R
  23. PA-08 | Likely D → Safe D
  24. NY-02 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  25. TX-24 | Toss-Up → Tilt D
  26. OR-04 | Safe D → Likely D
  27. PA-17 | Safe D → Likely D
  28. CA-50 | Lean R → Likely R
  29. UT-04 | Lean D → Tilt D

The odds of a Democratic majority in the US House have gone from 95.7% to 99.0%, and the odds of a Republican majority have gone down from 4.3% to 1.0%.

The Legislatures

Due to the poor environment and financial woes Republicans are facing in New Hampshire, we are moving the NH House of Representatives from Likely D to Safe D. After reviewing campaign finance reports in the state and consulting with experts on the chamber, it’s more likely that there will be a Democratic net gain in the chamber. The Republicans are at a major disadvantage in the chamber, so flipping it back into their column was an uphill battle from the start.

  1. NH House | Likely D → Safe D

We have also recently gone through and eliminated Toss-Ups in several states after looking at the final campaign finance reports: AR, MO, NV, IN and IL. You can check out these rating changes on the CNalysis Twitter account: follow it if you want to keep up with Toss-Up elimination. We would like to once again note that just because we are getting rid of the Toss-Up category in these states, it does not mean that these are our final ratings in them. Any rating that is a Tilt after Toss-Up elimination could very well have its rating changed on November 2nd, when we present our final forecast for state legislatures. A Lean or any rating less competitive is very, very unlikely to have its rating changed in our final forecast.

And now, as always, your updated total count for the battle for single-member district state legislative districts.

Of the 5,240 single-member state legislative districts up this year we are casting a prediction for, 1,029 are competitive (311 Likely, 326 Lean, 314 Tilt, 78 Toss-Up), or 19.64%. 1,685 are uncontested (881 Uncontested D, 800 Uncontested R, 4 Uncontested I), or 32.16%. 2,526 are safe (1,172 Safe D, 1,353 Safe R, 1 Safe I), or 48.21%.

150 districts are currently projected to flip party control 40 D to R, 2 I to D, 1 I to R, 1 R to I, 106 R to D). In the State House/Assemblies, it’s 66 R to D, 25 D to R, 1 I to D, 1 I to R, and 1 R to I. In the State Senates, it’s 40 R to D, 15 D to R, and 1 I to D.