A few weeks ago, I said that Democrats were slightly favored to win the Senate, House, and Governor majority. Now, I’m not so sure. Trump’s State of the Union improved Republican’s chances of keeping the Senate and Governor majority, and the House is at best only tilting Democrat. Since January 1st, Republicans have closed the gap on the generic ballot, moving from a 12.9 point deficit to only a 5.4 point deficit. Also, Trump’s approval rating average is now in the 40% range, compared to the mid 30’s a month ago. Based on those numbers, I have to favor Republicans to win the Senate, and call the House a pure tossup, favoring no one. The Governor majority leans Republican.
While the Republicans may have greatly closed the gap in the short-term, there is no absolute proof that their momentum could continue. Historically, the President’s approval rating increases after their SOTU, and their party typically improves in the generic ballot. So, Republicans could easily fall back to the 12 point deficit they had in January, but a neutral Trump could keep their momentum and help them retain Congressional control in 2018. At the moment, it’s simply too early to tell.
Here are my updated predictions in brief. I’ll also be making a complete review later this month.
- House: Absolute tossup
- Senate: Republicans slightly favored to retain at least 50 seats, giving them a majority
- Governor majority: Republicans likely to retain control with over 25 state governorships