A House cliff-hanger?

Larry Sabato, the well-known election analyst at the University of Virginia, looks at the battle for control of the House. He seems to be somewhere between “too close to call” and “looking good for the Dems.”

Sabato provides a chart with information on the 40 races he thinks are in-play. Here’s his overall take:

31 out of 40 are currently held by the GOP, which means Democrats would need only to win 24 of the 40 to seize control of the House–a much easier feat than previously estimated. The chart can help us estimate which scenario might play out on Election Day. First, let’s assume that in a Democratic “wave” on November 7th, Democrats pick up the two GOP seats currently “leaning” to them (Texas 22nd and Pennsylvania 6th) and hold onto all of their own “leaners.” Next, they pick up exactly three quarters of the tossups (an eleven seat net gain not implausible in a pro-Democratic year) and pick off just one of the GOP-held “leaners” (a somewhat conservative estimate). If this were to occur, Democrats and Republicans would be tied at 217 seats each, with potentially one additional Republican-held seat in an intriguing special circumstance,

I won’t spoil the suspense by describing the special circumstance, except to say that in Sabato’s scenario we won’t know which party has won the House until December.


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