The Democratic Party, which saw stunning defeats in federal, state and local elections during the years when former President Barack Obama was in office, may be on track to win back some of those seats, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight.
While it may be early to draw hard and fast conclusions for the 2018 midterm elections for House and Senate races, the media company delved deeply into the statistics in 15 special elections held since January. What it found was a tightening of the margins Republicans have held since winning back the House and Senate during Obama's presidency.
The article pointed to last month's special election in Montana won by Republican Greg Gianforte shortly after reportedly assaulting a reporter. His win over the Democratic challenger was narrower than President Donald Trump's in 2016, and could reflect "evidence that an anti-Trump wave is building for 2018."
While maintaining "it's never a good idea to draw conclusions about the national political environment from a single special election," the article said special election results when taken together "have shown some predictive power over which party will do well in the next general election."
Numerous factors are at play in reviewing election results, especially the nature of the Republican and Democratic parties, the candidates, local issues and popularity of governors. However, FiveThirtyEight maintained that "overall, the trend is clear."
"Democratic special-election candidates have improved their margins over Republicans relative to their district's partisan lean by an average of 14.4 percentage points," the article stated.
The results were calculated for special elections in Iowa, Minnesota, Connecticut, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, New York, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
The trend offers special significance because enough Democratic wins in 2018 would allow legislators and governors greater input on redistricting that will take place in the 2020s.
"From the smallest of small elections on a random Tuesday in this odd year, clues are being dropped about who might hold the balance of power in Washington for the next decade or more," the article said.
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