Polling guru Nate Silver gave Democrats an 88 percent chance of taking control of the House in his final pre-election poll survey Monday, calling the polling in support of those chances “pretty robust.”
According to his daily-updated page at FiveThirtyEight.com, the likeliest outcomes range between Democrats gaining 21 and 59 seats, and the average prediction being a pickup of 39.
Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win a majority of the House and make Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California the House speaker.
In his analysis he describes the Democrats as “pretty clear favorites,” giving them an 87.7 percent chance of having a House majority come January, while Republicans have a 12.3 percent shot.
“I feel good about the 6-in-7 (~85%) chance our model gives Dems. We deliberately use models to NOT go by gut-feel, but it aligns with my intuition. I can’t control whether the 6-in-7 or the 1-in-7 comes up — that’s up to voters — but I think those are the right odds,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Overall, this has not been the easiest election to forecast, but also not the hardest. There’s pretty good consensus among different models/experts. Our forecast has been quite stable. There’s been a lot more good polling in the House than usual,” Mr. Silver wrote on Twitter.
He explained in an analysis that his confidence was undimmed by the fact his models in 2016 had given Democrat Hillary Clinton a 71 percent chance of winning the presidential election.
One thing went drastically wrong for Mrs. Clinton, he said: “she underperformed her polls among white-working class voters in the Midwest and the Rust Belt. That alone was enough to cost her Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and therefore the Electoral College.”
But this is “more like Obama’s position in 2012 than Clinton’s in 2016,” he wrote on Twitter, citing “how many districts they’re competing in.”