My 2020 Predictions: Will Republicans Regain the US House?

Updated on January 4, 2020

Representative Ben McAdams - Utah 04 (Democrat)

Representative Ben McAdams, Utah 04
Representative Ben McAdams, Utah 04 | Source

The 2020 House Races (Updated December 28, 2019)

Politico has determined that there are 30 toss-up races out of the 435 House elections in November 2020. Only 6 of these seats are currently held by Republicans. If all of these races are actually even odds that either party wins, then the mathematical question is how likely is it that the Republicans could gain enough seats to get to the magic number of 218?

What Are the Odds?

Crunching the numbers by using the Politico determination of which races are actual toss-ups, there is an even chance that the Republicans will pick up between 8 and 9 seats, getting the Republicans to 208 or 209 seats, about 10 short of the number they need to control the House.

Ballotpedia uses ratings from Cook, Inside Elections, and Sabato, and it has determined that there are 72 competitive races and 30 seats held by Republicans. Again crunching the numbers, if every race has a 50% chance of being won by either party, what is the most likely outcome? The answer, using the Ballotpedia determination of which races are competitive, is that Republicans would pick up between 5 and 6 seats, short of the 2018 threshold by about 13 seats.

This author has taken all four sets of ratings, from Politico, as well as Cook, Inside Elections, and Sabato, and analyzed the data set. There are 37 competitive elections in which Republicans or Independents hold 11 seats and the Democrats hold 27 seats. This list includes the two North Carolina districts most affected by the court case on gerrymandering (in both cases, the previously Republican seat appears to be a Democratic pick-up). The tables below depict the races by how competitive they are. The bottom line on these 37 races, using the average projection from the 4 ratings, is that Republicans on net will pick up between 4 and 5 seats to get to between 204 and 205, some 14 seats short of what would be needed to gain control.

The three approaches described above (Politico only, Ballotpedia only—based on the ratings from Cook, Inside Elections, and Sabato) and my aggregate analysis based on ratings from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections, and Sabato) projects a net gain of seats for Republicans of between 4 seats and 9 seats, all short of the magic threshold of 18 seats.

Representative Joe Cunningham - South Carolina 01 (Democrat)
Representative Joe Cunningham - South Carolina 01 (Democrat) | Source

Pure Toss-Ups (Updated December 26, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
GA
07
R
50%
NY
11
D
50%
NY
22
D
50%
OK
05
D
50%
SC
01
D
50%
UT
04
D
50%
Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato all rate these six House races as toss-ups.
Representative Abby Finkenauer - Iowa 01 (Democrat)
Representative Abby Finkenauer - Iowa 01 (Democrat) | Source

8 Next Most Competitive Races (Updated December 27, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
IA
01
D
48%
ME
02
D
48%
MN
07
D
48%
NJ
03
D
48%
NM
02
D
48%
NY
19
D
48%
TX
22
R
52%
TX
24
R
52%
Based on average rating from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato.
Representative Cindy Axne - Iowa 03 (Democrat)
Representative Cindy Axne - Iowa 03 (Democrat) | Source

7 Next Most Competitive Races (Updated December 27, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
IA
03
D
46%
IL
14
D
46%
IL
13
R
54%
GA
06
D
44%
IA
02
D
44%
PA
01
R
56%
PA
10
R
56%
Based on average rating from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato.
Representative Elissa Slotkin - Michigan 08 (Democrat)
Representative Elissa Slotkin - Michigan 08 (Democrat) | Source

8 Next Most Competitive Races (Updated December 27, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
MI
08
D
42%
VA
02
D
42%
MI
03
I
58%
CA
21
D
41%
VA
07
D
41%
CA
48
D
39%
NJ
07
D
39%
NE
02
R
61%
Based on average rating from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato.
Representative Gil Cisneros - California 39 (Democrat)
Representative Gil Cisneros - California 39 (Democrat) | Source

6 Next Most Competitive Races (Updated December 27, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
CA
39
D
35%
NV
03
D
35%
PA
08
D
35%
TX
07
D
35%
TX
23
R
35%
CA
25
D
31%
Based on average rating from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato.

Gerrymandered Districts Affected by Court Cases (Updated December 27, 2019)

State
District
Incumbent
Probability R Win
NC
02
R
12%
NC
06
R
12%
Based on average rating from Politico, Cook, Inside Elections and Sabato.

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