Contemplating Turnout In The Midterms

We are on record already saying that we believe that Republicans will do much better than expected in the midterms.  The implication of much better than expected is that the Republicans could take the Senate back and will take the House by a much larger than expected margin.  In fact, we are more bullish on the chances for the Republicans than our friend and former White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove.  Our bullishness isn’t partisan mind you, but merely based on the math.


As it stands today, our view is creeping more and more into consensus, and is certainly getting priced into the stock market.  The current Real Clear Politics poll averages for the Senate have the Democrats at 48 seats, the Republicans at 46 seats, and 6 seats currently “too close to call”.  In the House, the Republicans are currently at 208 seats, the Democrats are at 191 seats, and 37 seats are currently “too close to call”. 


If you didn’t know the Senate is in play, now you know. 


Currently, the “too close to call” races in the Senate are in CO, CT, IL, NV, WA, and WV.  Our view is that IL and WA will likely go Democratic, while NV, WV, and CO have a real shot at going Republican.  If this occurred, we would be at 50 – 49 for the Democrats, with CT to be decided.  Given the fact that Republican nominee Linda McMahon is willing to spend up to $50MM in advertising, this race is far from a foregone conclusion and in our estimation it is the key race to watch in the coming weeks to gauge whether the Republicans can really take the Senate.


The real wild card in the midterms will be voter turnout.  Our stance that Republicans could do much better than expected is based on the fact that the numbers are telling us that Republican turn out could be much, much higher than the Democrats. 


The supporting evidence is as follows: 

  • Reuters Ispos Poll – September 16th to 19th – 72% of Republicans said they are very likely to vote, 55% of Democrats said they are very likely to vote
  • Gallup Poll – September 20th to 26th – 48% of Republicans said they are very enthusiastic about voting, 28% of Democrats said they are very enthusiastic about voting
  • Fox News Poll – September 14th to 16th – 42% of Republicans said they are very interested in the elections, 22% of Democrats said they are very interested in the elections
  • McClatchy-Marist Poll – September 22nd – 46% of Republicans said they were very enthusiastic about voting, 30% of Democrats said they were very enthusiastic 

The differences in these numbers are outright staggering and suggest a Republican base that is ready and willing to vote, while a Democrat base that is more than likely to stay home. 


In midterm elections, voter turnout is typically less than 40%, so these voter enthusiasm numbers will have a significant impact.  Particularly given the context that the registered and likely voters is currently split in the country with 36.5% identifying as Democrats, 35.5% identifying as Republicans, and 24.8% indentifying as Independents (according to, which we highlight below.  With the Republicans currently up +4% in the generic Congressional ballot, these turnout numbers may potentially add insult to injury for the Democrats.


Daryl G. Jones

Managing Director


Contemplating Turnout In The Midterms - 1

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