The Final Prediction for the House and Senate - and How to Watch Election Day Like a Professional
By Logan Phillips
Date: November 8th, 2022
At long last, it’s election day, and the American people will finally get the chance to make their voices heard. This year is easily one of the most competitive midterms of the last half-century.
Over the last three weeks, Republicans have gained considerable ground across the country. Before their surge, Democrats were clear - though far from decisive - favorites to win a Senate majority. Now, the Senate is locked in a true tossup. Democrats are lucky that they had a big enough lead in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania to suffer some bad headwinds and still emerge with a very serious shot of winning. I still have them as the narrow favorites in all four races, although their edge in Georgia and Pennsylvania is now less than 0.5%.
Republicans are slightly favored to flip Nevada. This race has been surprising given the shift elsewhere in the country. Catherine Cortez Masto has been a tough out for Republican Adam Laxalt. If she had lost the same ground as her fellow Democrats, she'd be a heavy underdog, but she still has a 45% chance of pulling off an upset.
The most likely outcome is a range of results between Republicans controlling 54 seats and Democrats controlling 51 seats. Democrats could potentially win more than 51 if there’s a medium polling miss nationally or locally in their favor. That would increase their odds of an upset Ohio, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, which are still reasonably competitive. If Republicans benefit from a history polling error - likely bigger than 2020 - they'd have an outside shot in Washington or Colorado.
I realize this is a broad range of feasible outcomes. Forgive my lack of precision, but 2022 is not a normal election. When I designed the Senate forecast, I tested it on every election cycle since 1970 to ensure it was as accurate as possible. The single most competitive election in terms of the chance both parties have of winning the majority is the 2022 election cycle.
The House is more favorable to Republicans. I have them with just under a 70% chance of winning and am on track to win 223 races. You might have noticed that my Forecast gives Democrats a higher chance of winning than most of my competitors. I think the key lesson from the last few election cycles is that misses are now more likely in polling and election forecasting, primarily because far fewer people are agreeing to answer calls from pollsters.
No one will be surprised if the polls underate Republicans again. I also wouldn’t be surprised if pollsters overcompensated for their mistakes in 2020 and 2016, and underestimated Democrats this time around. In fact, Democrats would be on track for 217.6 to win the House if outperform my projections by 1.56% nationally - and they need 218 to keep their majority. Of course, that cuts both ways, and the Republican's potential majority could balloon to 240 seats if they benefit from a polling error.
How to Watch Election Day like a Professional
At 4 pm, RacetotheWH will be launching our live House and Senate Forecast - our best prediction at the odds both parties have of winning a majority, updated throughout the night and into the next few days as results pour in from across the country. We will have an up-to-date prediction for every single state and Congressional race across the country.
The Forecast Change Throughout Night Based on Three Factors:
The results from National Exit Polls, and for Senate races, race-specific exit polls where available
Race calls by the Associated Press.
The actual results in races where at least 98% of the vote has been counted, so long as the outstanding vote isn't likely to disproportionately help one party. We will use this to assess if Democrats or Republicans are on track to outperform our projections.
The last thing we want to do is to cause a heart attack in all of our viewers by having far too rapid and extreme shifts back and forth. I’ve designed the live forecast to be cautious, especially in the first few races. The results from election day will have a far greater influence once we get a more substantial number of races called.
Our forecast is also designed to be as clear and easy to read as possible, so you can see which races have been called most recently, and where the outstanding vote is left to come from.
Finally, here’s our guide for watching election day like a professional. Switch between the images to see which states will close in each hour, and which key races to follow across the country.
Timeline for Election Day