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538: All four contested GOP congressional incumbents have better than even chance of winning

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018

* Hmm…

* Meanwhile

By the time of November’s election, Democratic candidates and liberal groups will have raised an astounding $1.5 billion in online contributions alone. And nearly every cent of it will arrive first in a mostly empty basement, where a printer the size of a carry-on suitcase processes checks next to a solitary cardboard cutout of former President Bill Clinton.

This is ActBlue, the not-for-profit group that has become a ubiquitous presence in Democratic politics, providing an online fundraising platform for just about every entity inside the party. If you’ve ever donated to one of the party’s candidates, or one of the recently formed grassroots progressive “pop-up” groups, you probably used ActBlue.

Few groups, then, have a better view of how a surge of relatively small, online contributions is reshaping the party’s priorities and campaigns — or how they are poised to upend the upcoming Democratic presidential primary.

There’s also an interesting new startup out there called GroundUp that allows Dems to link their credit cards to its system. They select the candidates they want to support and then every time participants make purchases, Ground Up rounds up to the next whole dollar amount and sends the “spare change” to the campaigns.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:35 pm:


  2. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    They do.
    It’s hard to vote against low unemployment and over 4% economic growth.

  3. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    Unfortunate, but not surprising.

  4. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    The predictions most basic underlying data is the partisan makeup of the district. So, yes, it is more likely than in a Republican leaning district a Republican will win. The problem with the predictions for House seats is that there is insufficient polling, so primarily what Nate is trying to do is predict the overall outcome for control of the House.

    But think about it a little harder–how many years would you give an opponent of Roskam a 1 in 4 chance of winning? In his current district he’d be expected to win a lot more often than that. These aren’t nearly as bad of numbers as people seem to think.

  5. - anonin - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Ground up takes a skim of 20% for processing and overhead. $3 for every $15 it collects from you. Call me old fashioned, but just mailing a check seems much more effective.

  6. - ItsMillerTime - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:00 pm:


    Real wages are stagnant
    Health care premiums are rising
    Trade war is causing harm to farmers & factories to close like that one in Chicago
    A tax plan that might be a tax hike for many Illinoisans

    But yeah besides that everything is peachy, I’m sure that 1.00 raise at starbucks really turned things around.

  7. - Pundent - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    I think Archpundit captures it well. These are historically Republican leaning districts but the question today is do they lean as much as they used to? Party support for a President has never been higher than it is today. However, what we don’t know is what truly makes up the Republican party these days. I doubt that its expanding and have no sense how much it may have contracted. I guess will find out in November.

  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    Those number are not a lock for Republicans especially in very Republican districts. 3 to 1 or 5 in 8 are not cinch odds by any stretch.

  9. - StatManDo - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:13 pm:

    Is he really saying that Roskam and Davis are in a better position than Hultgren? That can’t really be, can it?

  10. - lakeside - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:14 pm:

    As a Dem, I’d rather these odds to fire up my volunteers, rather than easy cruising to victory. See: H. Clinton presidency.

    Though, I guess I’d rather they looked 50/50.

  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    ==The predictions most basic underlying data is the partisan makeup of the district.==

    The 13th was drawn to be a lean D district

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:20 pm:

    ===The problem with the predictions for House seats is that there is insufficient polling===

    And it’s only August. We need to get to September at least.

  13. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    ===We need to get to September at least.

    —The 13th was drawn to be a lean D district

    Actually drawn to be a toss up giving Ds a shot. Stronger D in Presidential years with university students who are more likely to vote in those years and stronger R in off years.

    None of these races are certain for Dems and never should be thought of that way, but most show a greater possibility of going Dem this year given how the electorate seems to be shaping up.

  14. - wave - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    wow the dem in 2016 did almost that well in the 13th CD I think that one may be off a little

  15. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    I’ll never trust 538 numbers again after they do botched the 2016 election.

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:28 pm:

    Also IL13 has been shifting more GOP since the map was drawn (see Manar/Bourne areas). Avery won Manar’s precinct last cycle. A lot of that had to do with Trump but that area you also previously had seen Rosenthal, McCann, etc. do well so it is overall drifting more red.

  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:28 pm:

    ===dem in 2016 did almost that well in the 13th CD===

    Perhaps you should take a nap. Rodney Davis won by 20 points

  18. - dr. reason a, goodwin - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:31 pm:

    The 12th is not an historically Republican district, though it has certainly shifted more red in the last few years.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    Waves or no waves, it’s difficult to defeat entrenched incumbents that reflect their districts, even while voting against their districts.

    Here’s something to think about…

    As Rich points out, Rodney won by 20 points. That’s 2-0… twenty.

    If Rodney were to win by six, for example, a 14 point swing, it’s noteworthy, but Davis will again take the oath come January.

    At some point, it’s nice to be competitive, it’s better to be victorious.

    We’ll see how it plays out. It’s still August.

  20. - VerySmallRocks - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    Meanwhile, Cook Political Report has IL06 and IL12 as tossups and IL13 and IL14 as Lean Republican, hardly comforting to the GOP.

  21. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:58 pm:

    ===I’ll never trust 538 numbers again after they do botched the 2016 election.===

    Amen, Honeybear.

  22. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:11 pm:

    Can VanillaMan AND ItsMillerTime be right at the same time on that?

    I think they are…..

  23. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    ==- Honeybear - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 4:27 pm:==

    Might want to learn how modeling works.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:32 pm:

    It’s hardly 538’s fault so many red states have winner take all laws governing their electoral colleges.

  25. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:35 pm:

    538 didn’t botch the 2016 election. If I recall, it had Hillary up about 70/30 to Trump. Those odds just aren’t that significant. It’s like being surprised when a .300 batter gets a hit.

  26. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 5:58 pm:

    After 500 days of daily being told that the world under Trump will end, many voters aren’t waiting anymore.

  27. - ItsMillerTime - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:01 pm:


    After 500 days of daily being told that America is going to be made great again, many voters aren’t waiting anymore.

  28. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:13 pm:

    my post is not showing.

  29. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:26 pm:

    —-I’ll never trust 538 numbers again after they do botched the 2016 election.

    Precinct Captain points out that 538 didn’t screw it up. What they do is offer models that demonstrate the chance of something happening. In the case of a Trump win they had a Trump win at about 33% chance.

    Nate was essentially yelling at anyone who would listen that Trump had a real chance.

    538 isn’t perfect, but what they do best is provide probabilities. That others read those probabilities as a binary yes or no isn’t a weakness of their work, but of the consumers of it (and I’ve been on that end of things at times so this isn’t just criticizing everyone).

  30. - Nick - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:27 pm:

    A few things to keep in mind…
    “Consider this… the party that ends up winning seats has pretty much swept seats that are lean/likely/solid in their direction. They, on average, win 2/3s of the tossups, 40% of seats that lean towards other party, and even 25% that are likely towards the other party!”
    “For example, between July 2006 and November 2006, we moved 24-GOP held seats from Lean/Likely Republican to Toss-Up (or worse). Between August and November of 2010, we moved 35 Democratic-held seats from Lean/Likely Democratic to Toss-Up (or worse).

    In fact, of the 30 seats that Democrats won in 2006, 21 of them (or 70 percent), weren’t classified as the most vulnerable GOP-held seats in July. Almost half of the Democratic seats Republicans won in 2010 were classified as Lean or Likely Democrat in August.”

    Which is to say even in a wave election it’s pretty difficult to determine which seats are going to flip. You have seats which are rated as tossup which don’t, and you have seats which aren’t on anyone’s radar shocking everyone. I think 538 is doing their best with the data they have, but with these odds we shouldn’t be shocked if none or even all of them flip come November.

  31. - Archpundit - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 6:27 pm:

    —After 500 days of daily being told that the world under Trump will end, many voters aren’t waiting anymore.

    As you keep pointing out there is 4 percent unemployment, yet Trump cannot get his approval numbers much above 40 percent. That’s remarkable and not in a good way.

  32. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 7:30 pm:

    It wasn’t hard for many to vote against an economy that came out of the gutter and had 75 or so straight months of job growth. Apparently it’s not just the economy that makes people vote a certain way. If it was lots of people would have voted for Obama.

  33. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 7:52 pm:

    If it was possible to assume each district election was an independent event (probably is not), there would only be a 22% chance that Republicans win all four races. I think that should be the Democrats strategy — compete in all districts. We won’t will all the races, but we’ll win enough. I think picking up one of these seats in Illinois would be a victory.

  34. - Hamlets Ghost - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:07 pm:

    I went to the 538 page and saw they run the numbers using 3 different models: lite, standard and deluxe.

    Standard spit out the largest lead for Roskam at 5. The other 2 models projected 2.3 and 2.8 which signals a much closer race.

  35. - BlueDogDem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:10 pm:

    Bost by 1%. Not rooting. Just saying.

  36. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 8:48 pm:

    ==Bost by 1%.==

    For an incumbent, that’s not good. A 1%-point win can easily be 1%-point loss if a few folks stay home and a few others decide to show up. The polls of “likely voters” have a difficult time predicting when people who haven’t voted in the modeled set of elections become motivated and decide to vote (that’s what happened in 2016). So, a +1% projection for Bost is a fair indication he might not be going back to DC in January. (I know, you aren’t a pollster, but past experience is not always a predictor of future performance.)

  37. - Holdingontomywallet - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 9:07 pm:

    “Two percent GDP is the new normal and the jobs that moved overseas aren’t coming back, get used to it.”

  38. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 9:47 pm:

    hit this site next week and the numbers will change again–538 is not a great source for predictions–stick with the Cook Report that has Roskam and Bost as toss-ups and Hultgren and DAvis as lean GOP–that makes much more sense

  39. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 10:02 pm:

    everyone hates congress everyone one loves their congressman

  40. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 29, 18 @ 10:19 pm:

    Holdingmywallet. That comment is not true.

  41. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 7:50 am:

    –I’ll never trust 538 numbers again after they do botched the 2016 election.–

    I think you’re misunderstanding their modeling and what it means. On election day, they gave Trump a 29% change of winning. That was far from a “zero” chance.

    In the models above, none of the incumbents are represented as sure things, by definition.

  42. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 8:42 am:

    =For an incumbent, that’s not good.=

    True, but it is still a win and at the end of the day that is what really matters.

  43. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    If I remember right, 538 also predicted a 3% Clinton margin in the popular vote. Saying they “botched” just isn’t fair. Just because we don’t like the outcome, doesn’t mean we should say the predictions were wrong.

  44. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Nate Silver’s 2016 forecast was like a game of Russian Roulette with bullets in two of the six chambers.

    Two out of three times, it’ll just go ‘click’.

    But one out of three times, it goes ‘BANG’ and things get real ugly, real quick.

    – MrJM

  45. - walker - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    People are all over the place in forecasting turnout, affecting their models. I don’t think we’ll get a better sense until at least late September. Assume most are toss-ups right now.

  46. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    For those cheering the “booming” economy, Trump just issued a memo to freeze Federal salaries because of “our dire financial situation.”

  47. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==Trump just issued a memo to freeze Federal salaries because of “our dire financial situation.”==

    Who told you that?

    Due to complex federal pay law, a $25,000,000,000 wage increase would take effect and a president must issue a message by the end of August to prevent this from automatically taking effect. Congress has not yet addressed any increases in their budget, so the President has to issue this message so that it can be discussed.

  48. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:41 pm:

    That’s who told me.

  49. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:44 pm:


  50. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    I know, right? It’s thick with irony.

  51. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:01 pm:

    VMan, you’re really off your meds these days.

    From Trump:

    –Specifically, I have determined that for 2019, both across‑the‑board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero.–

  52. - Skeptic - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:03 pm:

    What amuses me (and yes I realize this is different) but the “dire financial conditions” argument is exactly what Quinn tried in 2011 and the ILSC laughed in his face. “Yeah, it’s an emergency, but one of your own making. Pay up.”

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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