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    2018 House Watch: Nothing is Settled and the GOP Could Still Win

    2018 House Watch: Nothing is Settled and the GOP Could Still Win

    “The big question right now, however, is enthusiasm.”

    According to conventional wisdom, Democrats are going to win the House of Representatives next week. Historically, the party that controls the White House loses control of Congress in the midterms. But these are not conventional times and anything could happen.

    Democrats and their friends in media have been essentially wish-casting about a ‘blue wave’ for months. A Democrat talks about it, then the media reports on it and more Democrats talk about it. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

    In reality, know one knows what’s going to happen on election day. Even in blue California, the unofficial home of the so-called resistance, there is fierce competition.

    John Wildermuth reports at the San Francisco Chronicle:

    In key California House races, Republicans are turning out early and big

    With the midterm elections just days away, there’s little indication that California is seeing a “blue wave” of Democratic votes, at least in the early returns of vote-by-mail ballots — and in some key races that will help determine control of the House, Republican voter response has been strong.

    There are still a lot more ballots to come in, cautioned Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., which supplies voter information to a variety of political campaigns. But so far, according to a mail ballot tracker he runs, Republican votes are keeping pace with the number of Democratic ballots.

    “Looking at the comparable numbers, the statewide mail ballot returns at this point are running about 40 percent higher than the primary, 1.7 million to 1.2 million,” he said…

    But the boost might not be helping Democrats. In the Walters vs. Porter race, for example, Democrats made up 31 percent of those who received mail ballots, while Republicans made up 37 percent. As of Monday, however, the total number of ballots coming back favored Republicans, 45 percent to 31 percent.

    Think back to the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections. People on the right showed up to vote. Do you really believe they see this midterm as less important than the last two? It’s likely that they see this election as more important than the last two. In other words, there is every reason to believe the same coalition of conservative, Republican and Tea Party voters show up on Tuesday.

    If the left can’t match them in turnout, Republicans definitely have a chance to hold the House. A new report from Julia Manchester of The Hill suggests turnout won’t be much different than previous years:

    Pollster says midterm turnout will not be that different from past years

    Pollster Dan Cox said that November’s midterm elections will likely not be that different from past midterms in terms of turnout in an interview that aired Tuesday on “What America’s Thinking.”

    “I think if you look at the typical midterm demographics, this one may be a little bit different where you see the groups that don’t historically turnout in midterm elections, people of color, young people, Independents may see a little bit higher rates,” Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha.

    “But I think historically this is not going to be that anomalous from previous midterm elections.”

    If that’s true, it’s very good news for Republicans.

    Sean Trende notes one of the defining factors is enthusiasm. He writes at the American Enterprise Institute:

    Can Republicans hold the House?

    Roughly a month before the election, the battle for control of the House is still in flux. Democrats retain a clear path to the majority, and have an overall edge. At the same time, there remain plausible pathways for Republicans to hold the majority. Making matters even more interesting, there are factors that point toward a wide range of potential outcomes.

    The “fundamentals” for Republicans are not as bad as one would expect, given the national environment. The president’s job approval in the RCP Average is hovering between 43 and 44 percent. While this is not good, it is much better than it was during the “thumpin’” the GOP received in 2006, when the Republicans lost 30 seats while the president endured a 37 percent job approval…

    The big question right now, however, is enthusiasm. For much of the past year, Democratic enthusiasm has outstripped that of the GOP. This has resulted in a number of nail-biting finishes for Republicans that never should have been single digit races. But with the Kavanaugh confirmation battle, that edge seems to have diminished; the most recent NPR poll shows the parties roughly even in terms of enthusiasm.

    If you place more faith in polls, there is hope there as well. Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal tweeted this fascinating shift yesterday:

    If there really was a blue wave, wouldn’t it be apparent by now? Nothing is certain. Keep calm, carry on and vote.


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    Elizabeth Heng who is mounting hard fought challenge against incumbent Democrat Jim Costa in California’s 16th congressional district:

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