Midterm Madness

Dr. Alan Abramowitz's election predictions for this November are based on political science research on voter decision-making in midterm elections, and results of recent polling on the House and Senate elections.

By Elizabeth Cobb Durel
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Are you anxiously waiting for Tuesday to roll around? We’re not choosing a new president, but there are many leadership seats at stake. Across the country, voting citizens will be electing 35 senators, 36 governors, 80 percent of all the state legislators, as well as the entire House of Representatives.

This year, almost more so than in elections past, it feels like the stakes are high and the country is divided. We called on Dr. Alan I. Abramowitz, Emory’s own Alben W. Barkley professor of political science, to give us some insight. He’s the highly published author of books and journals with an expertise in national politics, polling and elections, and voting behaviors. A leading election forecaster, Dr. Abramowitz, has most recently published, “The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump.”

Recently, Dr. Abramowitz joined us for a webinar, “How Big a Wave? The Outlook for the 2018 Midterm Elections,” to discuss the upcoming elections, noting that there is even another layer of responsibility.

“In addition to the sheer numbers of elected offices…we are only three years away from the next round of redistricting which will take place after the 2020 census,” says Abramowitz. “That is when state legislators around the country will be redrawing the district lines for not only their own district, but for the congressional districts. And, so the legislators and governors who are elected this year will be involved in this process of redistricting that will shape American politics for the next decade.”

He walks us through his thought process, the research, and his expectations of “substantial Democratic gains in the U.S. House, as well as governorships, and state legislators.” And, shares that, in the midterms, historically the party in power loses seats, it’s usually just a question of how many.

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Editor's Note: A rush transcript is available for download. Listen to previous faculty lectures on SoundCloud. We hope you can join us soon for an upcoming event.