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The Race for the House Is a Dead Heat. Will the Economy Tip the Balance?

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The race for control of the House of Representatives is the closest I have ever seen. The election involves all 435 of the House seats, so many outcomes are possible.

Usually one party or the other has enough of a margin that control is not in play. Alternatively, a blue wave or red wave forms, so a change is in the air, but you can see it coming. This time it’s different.

In the 2018 midterm election, there are no blue wave and no red wave. What’s happening is a dead-heat horse race. The Democrats have 205 seats in the “safe” or “likely” categories. Republicans have 201 seats in the “safe” or “likely” category. You need 218 seats to control the House, so neither party is over the finish line as of now.

There are 29 seats in the “toss-up” category. Democrats need 13 to take control, Republicans need 17. When you look at the polls in those 29 seats, most of the margins are 1–3 points in favor of one party or the other. Since that’s within the polling margin of error, it’s as if those races were tied, which they essentially are. So a careful analyst has to call the entire race for control of the House “too close to call” as of now.

It’s late for more October surprises. Most voters have locked in their choices and are not susceptible to change. Will anything tip the balance?

This article suggests that the economy may tip the election in favor of the Republicans. We’ve just had two back-to-back quarters of strong growth.

Unemployment is at a near 50-year low and stocks are near an all-time high despite recent drawdowns. We’ll see what happens on Nov. 6. But if the old phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” still means anything, the economic picture could favor Republicans by a hair.

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