On Thursday, the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, a nonpartisan handicapping service, moved 10 of its House race ratings in favor of Republicans and adjusted its predictions of GOP gains in the fall upward to between 20 and 35 seats.
That’s in keeping with how other political handicapping outlets are assessing the current political moment.
The confluence of these prognostications are built on several historical trends that have been predictive over decades.
“The president’s party almost always suffers a net loss of U.S. House seats in midterm elections. However, losses tend to be much steeper when the president is unpopular. In Gallup’s polling history, presidents with job approval ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats, on average, in midterm elections. That compares with an average loss of 14 seats when presidents had approval ratings above 50%.”
The second predictor of gains and losses in a midterm is the so-called generic ballot question. (Wording varies poll by poll but, generally speaking, the question asks whether you would vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate for House if the election were held today.)
The reality of this current political moment is that things appear to be getting worse for Democrats the closer we get to the election. Fears of a wave washing away even incumbents previously considered safe now seem entirely justified.