Sabato's Crystal Ball

New Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Race Relations Have Worsened Under President Trump

UVA Center for Politics August 9th, 2018

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in conjunction with the University of Virginia Center for Politics finds that a majority of Americans surveyed believe that race relations in the United States have gotten at least somewhat worse since President Donald Trump’s election. The poll also explores American racial attitudes at the one-year anniversary of a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville last August.

Americans offered more mixed opinions on race relations looking back on President Barack Obama’s presidency, with roughly equal numbers saying race relations got better or got worse during his presidency.

Tables 1 and 2 shows how respondents felt about race relations during both the Trump and Obama presidencies. Americans believe by 57% to 15% that race relations have become worse since President Trump’s election. By contrast, respondents were evenly divided about Barack Obama’s time in the White House, with 38% believing race relations improved and 37% saying they worsened.

Table 1: “Since President Trump’s election, do you believe that race relations in America are better or worse?”

Table 2: “During President Obama’s presidency, do you believe that race relations in America became better or worse?”

The poll was conducted in advance of the first anniversary of a neo-Nazi and white supremacist march in Charlottesville held on Aug. 12, 2017, and updates a previous Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics poll released on Sept. 14, 2017, measuring Americans’ racial attitudes. The new poll, conducted online Aug. 2-6, 2018 and featuring 1,450 respondents, asked several of the same questions as the poll from last year.

Tables 3-5 show the recent poll results, the results from last year in response to the same questions, and the amount of change from 2017 to now.

Table 3: “Which comes closest to your opinion?”

Table 4: “Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement(s)”

Table 5: “Do you support or oppose the following group or movement?”

As was the case in last year’s poll, few showed support for white nationalists and neo-Nazis. On the flip side, about a third of respondents did not express clear support for seemingly settled social issues, like support for interracial marriage. Americans generally showed a good deal of consistency on these questions between September 2017 and now. For instance, a majority of Americans both last year and now opposed the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces.

The full results and methodology from the new polling are available here and the crosstabs are available here.

The full results and methodology from the Sept. 2017 poll are available here and the crosstabs are available here.


A Failure to Launch? Kansas’ Republican Gubernatorial Contest and the History of Incumbent Governor Primary Performance

If results hold, Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) will be the narrowest incumbent primary loser in history

Geoffrey Skelley, Associate Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball August 9th, 2018

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— As of Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) trailed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) 40.6%-40.5% in Kansas’ gubernatorial primary. If Colyer’s deficit holds, it would mark the first primary loss for an incumbent governor in 2018.

— If the final outcome is similar to the current vote, Colyer’s defeat would make history: His present margin of defeat stands as the narrowest ever for an incumbent governor in a primary. Conversely, if Colyer wins based on the counting of outstanding votes and/or a recount, he could claim the record for narrowest primary win among incumbent governors.

— From the first statewide primaries in the late 19th century through Tuesday, incumbent governors have sought renomination in primaries 916 times. Out of those attempts, incumbents have won 830 times, a 91% renomination rate. But about one-third (300) of the 916 primaries in question featured no opposition for the incumbent seeking renomination. If we remove those races, incumbents in contested primaries won 530 out of 616 contests, an 86% renomination rate.

— Of the 616 contested primaries with incumbents, 541 featured elected incumbents and 75 unelected, successor incumbents. Overall, 87% of elected incumbent governors have won renomination in contested primaries while 78% of successor incumbents have done so.

“Tight as a tick” in the Sunflower State

The Kansas Republican primary for governor remains too close to call. As of Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS) trailed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) 40.6%-40.5% — a raw margin of just 191 votes — but thousands of provisional ballots still have to be counted, which could alter the outcome. However, if Colyer’s deficit holds, it would be notable because it would mark the first primary loss for an incumbent governor in 2018. Granted, Colyer is a “successor incumbent,” having moved from the lieutenant governorship to the governorship. Back in 2017, the Crystal Ball examined the electoral track records of successor incumbents in the post-World War II era and found that they performed worse than their regularly-elected counterparts in primary and general elections. Colyer is one of four successor incumbents who stepped up to a state governorship in the 2018 cycle and sought a full term. The other three — Govs. Kay Ivey (R-AL), Henry McMaster (R-SC), and Kim Reynolds (R-IA) — all won renomination.[1] Not coincidentally, Colyer had served the shortest time as governor prior to his primary up the quartet, only taking office on Jan. 31 after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) resigned to become President Donald Trump’s ambassador at-large for international religious freedom. If the final outcome is similar to the current vote, Colyer’s loss would make history: His present margin of defeat stands as the narrowest ever for an incumbent governor in a primary. Conversely, if Colyer wins based on the counting of outstanding votes and/or a recount,[2] he could claim the record for narrowest primary win among incumbent governors.

The Crystal Ball compiled data on every gubernatorial primary involving an incumbent in all 50 states up through this Tuesday. Our data set only includes primaries that occurred separately from the general election. That is, the data exclude Louisiana’s gubernatorial elections since 1975 because it is possible win outright in the first round of the Pelican State’s system by garnering a majority of the all-party vote. However, data from open primaries that nominated the candidate from each party with the most votes (Alaska and Washington have used such systems) and top-two primaries like those currently used in California and Washington are included. Unopposed primaries are also included in the overall count, including in cases where an incumbent did not appear on the ballot because of a state’s rules. For example, then-Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) did not appear on Florida’s 2002 primary ballot because the Sunshine State does not list unopposed candidates on its primary ballots (or its general election ballots). If a state used a convention-primary system where a candidate won enough support at the convention to avoid a primary, the incumbent is not included. An example of this would be Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) in his 2010 special election win and 2012 reelection, when he won sufficient backing at the state GOP convention to avoid a primary. It should be noted that many states once had prohibitions against incumbents running for renomination or traditions barring an immediate reelection bid (today, Virginia is the only state with a statutory prohibition against incumbents seeking a second consecutive term). Some states also moved from permitting consecutive two-year terms to a sole four-year term for a time. Factors such as these influenced the number of incumbents seeking renomination.

As referenced above, Colyer could go down as the narrowest loser or winner among all incumbents who sought renomination in a primary. Table 1 presents the 20 closest primary losses for incumbent governors in U.S. history, and Table 2 presents the 20 closest primary wins for incumbents.

Table 1: 20 closest primary defeats for incumbent governors in U.S. history

Notes: In the “party” column, “D” and “R” signify Democrat and Republican, respectively. In the “type” column, “P” and “R” signify primary and primary runoff, respectively.

Sources: Archived election results; CQ Press Guide to U.S. Elections, vol. II (6th ed.); Newspapers.com

Footnotes: 1) Results for the Kansas Republican primary as of the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 8, and the race remains uncalled; 2) unelected “successor incumbents”; 3) special primary for a special election for governor; 4) Joseph died about one month after winning the Republican primary, so the state party had to replace him on the general election ballot; 5) technically “acting governors” but sought full terms while serving in this role.

As Table 1 shows, a close primary loss for an incumbent sometimes augured poorly for the incumbent party. Besides Colyer’s possible defeat, eight of the other 19 cases saw the incumbent party lose in the general election. Many Democrats believe that Kobach’s divisiveness — he has gained notoriety and infamy for his evidence-less claims about voter fraud, among other things — and the stark unpopularity of the recently departed Brownback could give Democrats their best shot at winning the Sunflower State’s governorship since former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) won reelection in 2006. Kansas is sometimes referred to as a three-party state comprised of conservative Republicans, moderate Republicans, and Democrats. Some GOP insiders fear Kobach will turn off moderate Republicans, to the detriment of the party in both the gubernatorial election and in other important races on the ballot, such as U.S. House contests in KS-2 and KS-3. Should Kobach retain his slender primary lead, he will face state Sen. Laura Kelly (D) and independent Greg Orman in November. In the Crystal Ball’s ratings, the general election race Leans Republican, though Kobach’s far-right views could make him more vulnerable than Colyer might be in a general election. Orman, who ran as the de facto Democrat in Kansas’ 2014 Senate contest, seems more likely to win over votes that Kelly might otherwise attract, which would probably ease the path to victory for the eventual Republican nominee.

Table 2: 20 closest primary victories for incumbent governors in U.S. history

Notes: In the “party” column, “D” and “R” signify Democrat and Republican, respectively. In the “type” column, “P” and “R” signify primary and primary runoff, respectively. “OP” signifies open primary whereby primaries are open to all voters and candidates from all parties run together, but the candidate from each party with the most votes advances to the general election; the primary data for Alaska’s 1978 open primary include just the votes for Republicans.

Sources: Archived election results; CQ Press Guide to U.S. Elections, vol. II (6th ed.); Newspapers.com

Footnotes: 1) Unelected “successor incumbents”; 2) Hickel ran as a write-in candidate in the general election and finished second to Hammond 39%-26%; 3) Langer ran as an independent candidate in the general election and defeated Welford 36%-35%.

Should Colyer win after the outstanding votes are counted and/or after a recount, he would likely win by less than one-tenth of a percentage point (0.10 points), which would hand him the title for the closest-ever primary win for an incumbent governor. The present record holder is Gov. Jay Hammond (R-AK), who bested Wally Hickel (R) by 0.12 points among the GOP candidates in Alaska’s 1978 open primary. Hickel, a former governor who left office to serve in President Richard Nixon’s cabinet, then ran as a write-in candidate in the general election and finished behind Hammond 39%-26%. The parties of this narrow group of primary winners had slightly more success in the general election than the parties of the primary losers in Table 1, with the incumbent party losing six of the 19 completed general elections. This makes sense, intuitively, because the incumbents reached the general election in each case and incumbents tend to be stronger candidates for their parties than non-incumbents. Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) managed a slender primary renomination back in March and sits at the bottom of this list; the Crystal Ball views him as a major underdog in November, rating the race as Likely Democratic.

The earliest statewide gubernatorial primary featuring an incumbent took place in 1898, when Gov. William Ellerbe (D-SC) survived a primary runoff to win renomination in the Palmetto State two years after he won South Carolina’s first statewide primary (as well as the first primary runoff). Because the Democratic primary was tantamount to election in South Carolina (and most of the South) at that time, Ellerbe’s primary win also assured him of a general election victory in both 1896 and 1898. Ellerbe died in 1899, and Lt. Gov. Miles McSweeney (D) succeeded him as South Carolina’s governor. In 1900, McSweeney became the first successor incumbent to seek renomination in a primary, making it through a runoff en route to winning a full term of his own. The first elected incumbents to lose a gubernatorial primary both fell in 1908: In Georgia, Gov. Hoke Smith (D) lost to Joseph Brown (D) by five percentage points (52.6%-47.4%),[3] and in Washington’s first statewide primary, Gov. Albert Mead (R) lost to Samuel Cosgrove (R) by four points (28.3%-24.2%) in a crowded field.[4] In 1919, Gov. William Runyon (R-NJ) became the first successor incumbent to lose a primary while seeking a full term. Runyon narrowly lost a September primary to Newton Bugbee (R) by about four points while serving as acting governor of the Garden State. Runyon held that post because Gov. Walter Edge (R) had resigned the governorship to take his seat in the U.S. Senate (Edge won a Senate race in November 1918 and waited until May 1919 to take his place in Congress’ upper chamber).

From those early primaries through Tuesday’s nomination contests, incumbent governors have sought renomination 916 times in primaries (these data include the Kansas race based on its current result). Out of 916 attempts, incumbents have won 830 times, a 91% renomination rate. Of course, incumbents are often unopposed in primaries. About one-third (300) of the 916 primaries in question featured no opposition for the incumbent seeking renomination. If we remove those races, incumbents in contested primaries won 530 out of 616 contests, an 86% renomination rate. Table 3 lays out the data for incumbent governors and primaries based on their elected status and if they had intraparty opposition.

Table 3: Incumbent governors and primary performance

Sources: Archived election results; CQ Press Guide to U.S. Elections, vol. II (6th ed.); Newspapers.com

The vast majority of these primaries featured elected incumbents. Of the 616 contested primaries with incumbents of some type, 541 had elected incumbents and 75 had successor incumbents. Unsurprisingly, based on both intuition — unelected gubernatorial incumbents would naturally be weaker, having not previously won the office they hold — and the Crystal Ball’s previous research for the post-World War II period, successor incumbent governors have performed worse in primaries than elected ones. Whereas 87% of elected incumbent governors have won renomination in contested primaries, 79% of successor incumbents have done so. While the sample of successor governors in contested primaries is small — just 75 — the percentage who won primaries in that time coincidentally about matches the 75% success rate for such incumbents in 2018, where three of four have won (assuming Colyer does indeed lose).

In 2018, seven of seven elected incumbent governors have sought and won renomination in primaries. On Saturday, Hawaii’s primary features perhaps the most likely opportunity for an elected incumbent governor to lose a primary in 2018. Gov. David Ige (D-HI), who himself crushed incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) in Hawaii’s 2014 Democratic primary, is in a closely-fought contest with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D, HI-1). Hanabusa herself came up just short in a 2014 primary challenge to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), an appointed incumbent. Now she is taking on Ige, who earlier in the cycle appeared to be well on his way to defeat. A March Mason-Dixon poll found Hanabusa up 47%-27% as Ige struggled with the fallout from controversy regarding a false missile alert in January that his administration failed to correct quickly in part because Ige forgot his Twitter password. Morning Consult has consistently found Ige with one of the highest disapproval ratings of any governor (49% disapproval in the first quarter of 2018, 46% in the second quarter). But Ige’s position in the primary appears to have recovered to some extent — Mason-Dixon went back into the field at the start of July and found Ige ahead 44%-40%, while a late July poll for the Civil Beat found Ige up 43%-34%. Should Ige lose, that would make elected incumbent governors seven for eight (88%) in primaries in 2018. Assuming the seven incumbents seeking renomination in states with primaries after Hawaii’s successfully win renomination — most are heavy favorites or unopposed — an Ige loss would mean elected incumbents would go 14 for 15 (93%) in 2018 primaries.

With the polls close in Hawaii, it seems unlikely that Ige could lose by the sort of margin that he won with in the 2014 gubernatorial primary. Ige defeated Abercrombie by 35.9 percentage points, the worst defeat for an incumbent ever. Table 4 displays data for the 20 largest primary defeats for incumbent governors.

Table 4: 20 worst primary losses for incumbent governors in U.S. history

Notes: In the “party” column, “D” and “R” signify Democrat and Republican, respectively. In the “type” column, “P” and “R” signify primary and primary runoff, respectively. “OP” signifies open primary whereby primaries are open to all voters and all candidates from all parties run together, but the candidate from each party with the most votes advances to the general election; the primary data for Washington’s 1940 open primary include just the votes for Democrats.

Sources: Archived election results; CQ Press Guide to U.S. Elections, vol. II (6th ed.); Newspapers.com

Footnotes: 1) Failed to make a primary runoff; 2) unelected “successor incumbent.”

Back in 2014, the Crystal Ball examined how Abercrombie made history for the entirely wrong reason. The other two recent members of this list of 20 are Gov. Frank Murkowski (R-AK), who lost badly to future vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) in Alaska’s 2006 GOP primary, and Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV), who fell to current Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) in the Silver State’s 2010 Republican primary. Note that Gov. Preston Smith’s (D-TX) 8.7% in the 1972 Democratic primary is the smallest share of the vote ever won by an incumbent governor in a primary or primary runoff, a figure made even more remarkable by the fact that he was unopposed two years earlier for the Texas Democratic nomination.

Conclusion

The Kansas primary result may not be finalized for some time, especially if there is a recount. Nonetheless, Colyer’s current 0.1-point margin of defeat would rank as the closest loss for an incumbent governor in the history of primary elections. Should Colyer lose, the result would be somewhat unsurprising given the greater vulnerability of unelected, successor incumbents in primaries compared to elected incumbents. With a potentially close and competitive general election ahead in the Sunflower State, the narrow GOP primary result could delay efforts to unify the party, and a Kobach candidacy might deflate turnout among Republican moderates and/or shift some of their votes into the Democratic or independent column. Kobach might also further juice turnout among Democrats, though they may be as enthused and motivated as they can be in the Age of Trump. Then again, Orman’s presence in the race could help Kobach triumph over splintered opposition.

Footnotes

1. Ivey handily won her primary with 56.1% of the vote while Reynolds had no primary opposition. McMaster had to battle through a primary and primary runoff, but he defeated John Warren (R) 53.6%-46.4% in South Carolina’s GOP runoff.

2. Kobach’s office would manage a recount, and there appears to be no law forcing Kobach to recuse himself from overseeing a recount in a race involving himself.

3. In the 1910 Democratic primary, Smith avenged his 1908 defeat by defeating Brown by two points (see Table 1). Before 1917, Democratic Party primaries in Georgia did not officially determine the nominee. Instead, the primary allotted delegates at the convention by county unit vote, which then officially nominated a candidate. Even after implementing direct primaries, however, Georgia still used the county unit system to determine outcomes, so primary winners and losers were not decided by the overall popular vote until 1962.

4. Washington used a ranked-vote primary system from 1907 to 1917. In the 1908 primary, no GOP candidate won a majority, so ranked votes decided the Republican nomination. Henry McBride won 32.9% of first-choice votes compared to Mead’s 31.7% and Cosgrove’s 25.0%. But when second-choice votes were added to each candidate’s total, Cosgrove received 28.3% of all first- and second-choice ballots compared to Mead’s 24.2% and McBride’s 23.4%.


The House: Ratings Changes in the Aftermath of Another Nail-Biter Special Election

GOP likely holds on in OH-12, but narrow result and other developments Tuesday reinforce positive Democratic trends

Kyle Kondik, Managing Editor, Sabato's Crystal Ball August 9th, 2018

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE

— A likely GOP win in a suburban Columbus House seat still represents a significant underperformance compared to usual Republican performances there.

— Washington state’s top-two primary results so far should also be concerning to Republicans because they indicate three districts could be at risk in the fall.

— We are moving a handful of House races toward the Democrats, and we continue to see Democrats as “soft favorites” in the House.

Table 1: Crystal Ball House ratings changes

Member/District Old Rating New Rating
Kevin Yoder (R, KS-3) Leans Republican Toss-up
MI-11 Open (Trott, R) Toss-up Leans Democratic
NJ-11 Open (Frelinghuysen, R) Toss-up Leans Democratic
Chris Collins (R, NY-27) Safe Republican Likely Republican
Lamb vs. Rothfus (PA-17) Toss-up Leans Democratic
PA-7 Open (Dent, R) Toss-up Leans Democratic
J. Herrera Beutler (R, WA-3) Safe Republican Leans Republican
C. McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5) Leans Republican Toss-up

Tuesday results consistent with what we’ve seen throughout the cycle

Is there such a thing as a moral victory in politics? Democrats hope so in OH-12.

While the race remains uncalled, it appears as though state Sen. Troy Balderson (R) will squeak by Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor (D) in a closely-watched special election in this traditionally Republican district that covers the northern Columbus suburbs and several more rural counties. President Trump won the affluent, highly-educated district by a shade under a dozen points. Balderson currently leads by a little under a full percentage point, a margin that likely will narrow a bit once provisional ballots and absentee votes are fully tallied. We do not expect Balderson will lose his lead.

The results are in keeping with the bulk of the other federal and state-level special elections this cycle: When it’s all said and done, O’Connor will have run roughly 10 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin. Turnout was once again strong for a special election, with a little over 200,000 votes cast, just a little bit behind the roughly 220,000 votes cast in this district’s House race in 2014. Turnout should be higher in the fall, which might help Balderson in his rematch with O’Connor, given that Balderson’s more rural base didn’t vote at the rate that O’Connor’s more suburban/urban base did, as analyst Henry Olsen astutely noted Tuesday night. OH-12 was similar to the PA-18 special, which now-Rep. Conor Lamb (D) narrowly won in March, in that both Democrats were powered by very strong performances in the parts of their districts closest to their respective big cities (Pittsburgh for Lamb, Columbus for O’Connor). Lamb barely won, O’Connor (seemingly) barely lost, but the patterns are similar, as the New York Times’ maps from each election helpfully illustrate.

We’ll reassess our Toss-up rating of OH-12 once Balderson officially wins (assuming he does). Our plan before the election was to move OH-12 to Leans Republican if Balderson won, but the outcome is so close that it may be better rated as a Toss-up.

One important thing to remember about OH-12, and all specials, is that it is an open seat, and therefore there’s no incumbency advantage there. So it may not be fair to compare an open seat to one held by an incumbent, and the OH-12 result does not suggest that every Republican who holds a seat that Trump won by 11 or less is in a Toss-up race (many will be, though, in this kind of environment). Additionally, Democrats should gain ground in several open seats that are less Republican than OH-12.

One prime Democratic pickup opportunity is in Michigan, where former Obama administration auto bailout official Haley Stevens (D) will face businesswoman Lena Epstein (R) in an affluent, suburban, and traditionally Republican district that Trump won by about 4.5 points (slightly worse than Mitt Romney’s 2012 showing there). If Democrats can come extremely close in a district like OH-12, in this environment they probably are at least slightly favored in a less Republican open seat like MI-11. We’re moving MI-11 from Toss-up to Leans Democratic, although Stevens needs to improve her fundraising because Epstein can self-fund to some degree. Now that Stevens has emerged from a crowded field she should be able to do that. We’re doing the same in the open NJ-11, another affluent, highly educated seat that is traditionally Republican but Trump barely won. Former federal prosecutor and Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill (D) has a major leg up on state Assemblyman Jay Webber (R) on the fundraising front, although a Monmouth University poll from late June showed the race as close.

We’re also making the Toss-up to Leans Democratic shift in another suburban seat, PA-17, where two incumbents, Lamb and Rep. Keith Rothfus (R), will face off after redistricting changed the Keystone State map earlier this year. This district only voted for Trump by a couple of points, making it far less Republican than the district Lamb won earlier this year, and Lamb comfortably led Rothfus in a recent poll from Monmouth. Staying in Pennsylvania, we’re moving PA-7, a new, open seat in the Lehigh Valley that Hillary Clinton narrowly carried, to Leans Democratic as well. Former Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild (D) has strongly outraised Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein (R), a former Olympic gold medalist, in the PA-7 race.

Democrats appeared to get a bit more encouraging news after many on the East Coast were already in bed. Like California, Washington state uses a top-two primary system, meaning that all candidates run together on the same ballot in the primary and the top two finishers advance to a runoff. The two-party results can offer a preview of the fall, and analysts such as Nate Cohn and Sean Trende have noted that the November results usually get a little more Democratic.

If that happens, three of the state’s four Republican members of Congress could be in trouble. While some votes remain to be tabulated, the bulk are already in (1.2 million counted and about 321,000 to go as of Wednesday night according to the most recent update from the Washington secretary of state, although that number of uncounted ballots could rise with more mail ballots trickling in), and the two-party vote totals, at least initially, suggest some openings for Democrats.

In WA-8, a Toss-up open seat Clinton narrowly carried in 2016, frequent candidate Dino Rossi (a Republican who has lost a few very competitive statewide races) and a few minor Republicans on the ballot combined for 48% of the two-party vote, meaning the Democrats won 52% so far. Kim Schrier (D), a physician, narrowly leads in the race to face Rossi. This was and is a Toss-up, but the experienced and well-funded Rossi looked to us like one of the best bets on the GOP side to hold a Clinton-won open seat. These results call that assessment into question.

In Eastern Washington, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-5) has seemed like a small favorite over former state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D) in a Republican-leaning seat (Trump won it by a dozen points) that features two well-funded candidates. Yet the two-party vote, a close 52% to 48% spread in favor of McMorris Rodgers and a couple of minor Republicans, is more suggestive of a Toss-up, particularly if Democrats do indeed improve in the fall. We’re moving WA-5 from Leans Republican to Toss-up in what very well could be a marquee race. This is effectively the same district that then-House Speaker Tom Foley (D) lost to George Nethercutt (R) as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution. Republicans might argue that an independent running as a “Trump Populist” should be counted in the GOP share. If so, the two-party vote would be 53.2%-46.8%%. That’s still close enough, to us, to merit a Toss-up rating for now. The McMorris Rodgers camp also argues that the remaining votes favor Republicans and that the GOP two-party share will rise as the vote is finalized. If that happens, we may reassess this move.

Finally, in WA-3, Democratic and Republican vote totals were basically split down the middle in a district where Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R) seemed safe. We’ll have to see how Carolyn Long (D), a political science professor, performs in the fall, but this race seems much more competitive than we previously thought. We’re going to shift our rating in WA-3 dramatically, from Safe Republican to Leans Republican, and Toss-up may be warranted eventually.

One key question: Did Democrats, because of their now-ravenous base, get their usual primary-to-general turnout bump now, or is there another coming in the fall? This is important for both California and Washington when assessing the all-party primary results, two states where Democrats would like to net multiple House seats (particularly California).

We have a couple of other shifts related to new developments. In KS-3, a suburban Kansas City seat that Clinton carried by a tiny margin, Democrats picked Sharice Davids, an attorney, as their nominee in a crowded primary over a Bernie Sanders-backed candidate, Brent Welder (D), whom the GOP seemed to want to face. Davids, who could be the first Native American woman elected to Congress, will face Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in the fall. KS-3 moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Finally, the FBI arrested Rep. Chris Collins (R, NY-27) Wednesday morning on accusations of insider trading. His district is the most Republican in New York state — Trump carried it by 25 points — but Collins only narrowly won it in 2012 against now-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), and his arrest introduces a potentially major complicating factor in his race. We’re moving NY-27 from Safe Republican to Likely Republican as we await further developments.

The Democrats now have 203 seats at least leaning to them, the Republicans have 198 at least leaning to them, and there are 34 Toss-ups. Based on our current ratings, the Democrats no longer have to win a majority of the Toss-ups to win the House — 15 of 34 would now do the trick — although Republicans hope that some of our Leans Democratic seats are rated too bearishly for their side. There is always a chance that something could happen to change the current dynamic, but nothing that happened Tuesday night suggested that the pro-Democratic trend we’ve seen throughout the cycle is eroding. The election is less than three months away now.