There is a broad expectation that Democrats will retake the House, an assumption based in part on voter turnout that exceeds the typical midterm US election. President Trump is a deeply polarizing figure, the thinking goes, so voters who dislike the man or his policies will be well motivated to show up on November 6th. There is even some thought this “Blue Wave” will be enough to swing the Senate.
Here’s what users at online prediction market PredictIt.org currently make as the odds:
- “Who will control the Senate after 2018?”: Republican (71%), Democratic (35%)
- “Who will control the House after 2018?”: Democratic (71%), Republican (33%)
Therefore, for Democrats to win back BOTH the House and Senate, they will need strong turnout from millennials given that they’re typically a more liberal cohort. To measure millennial engagement, we looked at Google search volumes for “how to register to vote” as young Americans aren’t as typically involved in politics as older cohorts unless they are particularly compelled.
Although searches for “how to register to vote” are up more than double (+130%) over the past month, they are only on par with the 2010 midterms.It was enough for Republicans to take back Congress then of course, but it is nowhere near levels seen during the last few presidential elections. Given young Americans’ strong views towards the president during the current strained political climate, we’d expect more interest here. There’s still more time to move higher in October before the midterms, of course.
More broadly, Democrats need to flip at least 23 Republican seats in the House to retake the chamber, according to Cook Political Report and the New York Times. There are currently 30 seats where either party has an equal chance of winning, “including 28 seats currently held by Republicans. There are nine Republican-held seats that currently lean towards Democrats”. States with most of these 30 toss-up seats include: California (5), Illinois (2), Kansas (2), Michigan (2), Minnesota (2), New Jersey (2), New York (2), Texas (2), and Virginia (2).
When we look at Google Trends to see the top states in which Americans are searching most frequently for voting related questions, here are the results:
- “How to register to vote”: Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho, Michigan and Texas
- “Where do I vote”: Minnesota, Oklahoma, Alabama, Rhode Island, Michigan
- “Where am I registered to vote”: South Dakota, Alabama, Oklahoma, New York, Missouri
Four states stick out to us as they are on the NYT’s list of toss-up states: Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Texas. There are 8 seats in play here, 6 of which are currently held by Republicans. Additionally, top states for queries of “when are midterm elections” include: Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, California, and Washington. These states represent 10 seats from the toss-up states, all of which are currently Republican-held: IL (2), NY (2), CA (5), and WA (1).
All in all, these Google Trends results show positive momentum relative to voting interest in toss-up states where Democrats could take control of the Republican-held seats they need to flip. Voter turn-out will be the difference between a newly Democrat controlled House or Senate, after all.
Source: New York Times