- Click here for a look at the current breakdown in the House.
- Click here for the article.
If this new tape has a similar effect, Clinton could obviously expect an easy victory. But that kind of Trumpian meltdown would also give Democrats a chance to reclaim a prize that has long looked far out of reach — the House of Representatives.
The House has long looked like impossible to flip because gerrymandering has given Republicans a fortress of extraordinarily safe seats. (In 2012, for instance, Democratic House candidates won 1.7 million more votes than their Republican foes — and still ended up with 33 fewer members of the House.) Democrats need to win 30 Republican-held seats to flip the House, and are widely expected to nab closer to 15.
But one political analyst I interviewed earlier this campaign thinks an epic Trump collapse might be enough to overcome that built-in advantage. Geoffrey Skelley, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, argues that a Clinton victory of 6 points or more might be enough to put the House back in play.
Right now, the polling averages suggest Clinton is running around 5 points ahead of Trump. If she can use this Trump implosion to further increase her national lead, at least according to Skelley’s projections, she may give down-ballot Democratic allies a real chance at reclaiming Congress. And that would have huge consequences for the next two years of American government.
Projection: A 6-point Clinton victory would put 50 Republican-held House seats in play
Skelley’s math is rooted in a simple fact: If the Democratic presidential nominee wins a House district, the Democratic congressional candidate also probably wins that House seat.
This is not an ironclad rule, but it’s a pretty good indicator — in 2012, only 6 percent of districts that voted for Barack Obama voted a Republican into the House.
This is the key to understanding why Skelley thinks a 6-point Clinton win could put the House in play. That kind of national victory would likely mean 50 House districts currently controlled by Republicans would vote for Clinton — therefore suggesting they have a good shot of also going blue at the House level.
For more on the subject:
- The Odds of a Democratic Sweep Next Month Are Small But Rising.
- The House May Be in Play.
- Why It’s Impossible for Democrats to Win the House.