November Rain: Midterm Election Scenario Analysis

THE COWEN INSIGHT

The following provides election scenario analysis of 3 possible midterm outcomes. 

  1. GOP House & Dem Senate
  2. GOP House & GOP Senate
  3. Dem Hold

WHAT TO WATCH

  • A divided government base case
  • GOP needs to net 4 in House & 1 in Senate for control; House very likely goes GOP
  • Senate control comes down to PA, WI, NV & GA; the electoral map (& risky/untested GOP candidates) favors Dems, but geography won’t stop a wave
  • Midterms in 98 days (14 weeks)

GOP HOUSE & DEM SENATE

The first midterm is typically very unkind to the President’s party, and this cycle is no exception. A witches’ brew greets House Democrats, who also have the largest number of retirements in 30 years.  Biden remains in worse polling/approval position than Trump at this point in his Presidency, with greater concerns for inflation. Meanwhile, republicans are eager for a referendum on Biden, which would track with the 1994, 2010, and 2018 midterms that are historically VERY tough on the President’s party. Anything that alters that narrative is largely negative for the GOP. Especially considering that forty pick-ups would give the GOP their biggest majority since 1929 (they need 59 for the record) — this scenario is possible, though the amount of “swing seats” is greatly diminished.

The senate side is not nearly as dire for the President’s party with a largely favorable map; PA, GA, AZ, NV, NC, NH, WI remain the key seven for Biden. (Biden won all but NC in 2020, though the vote margins were all within seven points). All seven could *maybe* hold blue. However, election maps point in the direction of falling short for the Dems in this environment, but it does give them a chance — along with some risky/untested GOP candidates.

GOP HOUSE & GOP SENATE

Playing into this scenario is how Biden’s approval numbers are historically weak — particularly among the suburbs and independents, i.e., key coalition partners that drove Trump from the White House. Even with a favorable map, the GOP only needs to pick up one Senate seat.

DEMS HOLD CONGRESS

This seems unlikely and a monumental task for the Democrats, but it could happen in theory. If the House does hold, one must presume that the Senate Dem margin has increased given the lack of a GOP wave.

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