But a House-Senate split is exactly what we’re seeing in the FiveThirtyEight forecast. Democratic prospects in the Senate are increasingly dire, having fallen to about 1 in 5. Indeed, it’s been hard to find any good news for Democrats in Senate polling lately. In the House, by contrast, their opportunity is holding up relatively well. In fact, Democrats’ chance of taking the House has ticked back upward to about 4 in 5, having improved slightly from around 3 in 4 immediately after Kavanaugh was confirmed. And while district-by-district House polling has been all over the place lately, Democrats’ position has improved slightly on the generic congressional ballot.
I’m not obsessive about clicking on the latest polls, but I do check in at least once a day, and the results for the Democrats lately are probably worse than Silver suggests. Today, a highly rated Emerson College poll has Nevada Senator Dean Heller, who is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican incumbent, leading Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen by seven points. Beto O’Rourke is trailing Ted Cruz by nine points. An Ipsos poll over the weekend had Senator Bill Nelson losing to Florida Governor Rick Scott by two, and one of theirs from last week had Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill trailing by one and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s once substantial lead reduced down to a single point. The Siena College/New York Times polls have been bearish on Democratic candidates in both the Senate and House, and they’re showing the Senate races in Tennessee and Texas slipping away. There was even a poll over the weekend that had Minnesota Senator Tina Smith’s lead at a mere three points.
If these polls are accurate and they hold up, the Democrats are going to lose seats in the Senate and possibly get washed out. Silver says his numbers show a converse effect in the House races and I don’t doubt that. But I’m seeing a lot of Republican strength lately in areas where I thought the Democrats had at least pulled even if not ahead.
Some examples include Virginia’s 2nd District, New Jersey’s 3rd District, Minnesota’s 8th District, New York’s 1st District, Florida’s 27th District, Washington’s 8th District, and Pennsylvania’s 1st and 16th Districts. Some previously encouraging polling out of Illinois looks newly discouraging, too.