The scary prediction hiding in the latest election polls

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A lot of polls have said that the Democrats have an excellent shot at gaining the majority in the House of Representatives. But the devil is in the details.

As this helpful graphic from FiveThirtyEight shows, the % chance they assign to the Democrats winning the House is actually drawn from the most likely RANGE of outcomes. So I studied their information and dug into this graphic to better understand what is going on.

The key statistic in this chart is that as of Labor Day weekend, FiveThirtyEight is forecasting that the Democrats have an 80% chance of winning between 14 and 56 seats.

Screen Shot 2018-09-02 at 2.29.45 PM

Infographic from FiveThirtyEight

Sounds good, except…

You and I both know that we need to hold every single seat we currently have in the House AND flip 24 seats to win the majority. An 80% chance that we only gain 14 seats (the low end) doesn’t get us the majority. It’s not enough.

This is what each and everyone of us needs to keep in mind these last few weeks before the midterms: The Democrats have an excellent shot at gaining seats in the House and we have an equally excellent shot of being just short of the net 24 seat gain that we need. 

We look at the polls for a reason: We all want to know, right now, if the Democrats are going to flip Congress and other important seats in November. But we need to be careful that we don’t allow the good news in the polls to depress our action. Because all of these polls are saying the likeliest range of outcomes include us winning seats yet just losing out on gaining the majority in Congress.

So, as always, my advice is: Don’t let polls convince you to let up off the gas and take a break. We all need to work hard for our candidates and ensure they win. Because until Election Day results on November 6 are tabulated, we cannot let our energy waver.

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Categories: Explainers

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