With just a month until election day everybody is following the Cook Political Report. Cook is one of the top political prognosticators in the business. That means the predictions that Cook is making about November’s elections carry a lot of weight in political circles.
And today most of the news coming from Cook favors the Democratic candidates and bolsters their hopes for a Blue Wave election.
Cook holds itself out as a purely nonpartisan election forecaster, but lately Republicans must wonder if he is biased in favor of Democrats.
Yesterday he issued a report changing seven congressional races toward Democrats. This is consistent with the moves he has reported over the past several weeks.
Significantly, Cook shifted two congressional House races that were previously rated “toss-ups” to “lean Democrat.”
One is in Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, where Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder is facing a tough challenge. Yoder has been trailing in the polls and The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) recently canceled over $1 million of ad spending that was intended to bolster Yoder’s campaign. Now it appears that his party has given up on him.
Cook also changed Michigan’s 11th Congressional District to “lean Democrat” when it had been considered a “toss-up” before. In that race Republican incumbent Rep. David Trott is not seeking reelection, so it’s an open seat. This set up a race between Haley Stevens (D) and Lena Epstein, and Stevens has moved into the lead.
Cook also shifted two races that previously “leaned Republican” to “toss-up.”
One of these races is in Florida where GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo is seeking reelection in a district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is now given a 50/50 chance of winning, although trends are not in his favor.
The other change involves Utah GOP Rep. Mia Love’s campaign for a third term. She was thought to have a comfortable race, but her Democratic challenger has been picking up support and now it is much closer than the Republicans want it to be.
Other races changed by Cook are in districts that are heavily Republican where the incumbents are still favored, although by slimmer margins.
Republicans are attempting to stave off a Democratic effort to retake control of the House and Senate in November.
In a tweet this morning, the Cook expert in charge of House races, Dave Wasserman, made clear that things were also improving for Democrats in House races in California, based on new surveys just published:
“On balance, Dems have to be pretty happy w/ these CA numbers.”
On balance, Dems have to be pretty happy w/ these CA numbers. https://t.co/twgShrn6EC
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) October 4, 2018
Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the House to reclaim the majority, and must gain two seats in the Senate to secure a majority there. The consensus right now seems to be that Dems will likely win control of the House, but Senate control is not likely.
A RealClearPolitics average of generic congressional ballot polls shows Democrats with over a 7-point lead, which should be enough to win the majority of House seats in November.