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Photo: Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times
By Bruce Stanford (@brhstanford)
Much like the article we did several days ago on which races the Republicans needed to win to keep the House, now we’re going to look at which races the Democrats must win in order to take the House.
1.Colorado’s 6th- Mike Coffman (R-CO)
This is about as must-win as it gets for the Democrats. The district voted for Clinton by 9 points in 2016, and also voted for Obama by 5 points in 2012. It’s somewhat of an anomaly that Coffman, a Republican, even hung on to this district for this long anyway. He was first elected in 2008, so he does have decent incumbency, but Democrat Jason Crow looks like he will probably defeat Coffman this year. However, this should be expected- it’s a solid Democrat district. If for someone reason Coffman held on and won here, the Democrats chances of taking the House go down the toilet. If you’re a Democrat, you’ve got to win races in solid Democrat districts like this.
2. California’s 49th- OPEN SEAT
This district voted for Romney by 7 points in 2012, but then voted for Clinton by 7 points in 2016. A complete flip. It has generally been regarded as a conservative leaning district over the years. However, the incumbent Darrell Issa (R-CA) decided to quit this year and now the seat is open for taking. It’s a ripe seat for a pickup on the Democrat side since it just voted solidly for Clinton a couple years ago. The other reason it’s supposed to flip Democratic is because Darrell Issa only won this seat 50.3%-49.7% in 2016. On the surface, with this set being won by Clinton by 7, and the Republican incumbent only winning it by 0.6% last election, this should be a fairly easy pickup for the Democrats. If they don’t win it, the Democrats are doomed.
3. Washington’s 8th- OPEN SEAT
This district is an open seat, and it was won by both Obama and Clinton. In any scenario of the Democrats taking back the House, if the Democrats can’t take a seat that’s open and voted Democrat for president the last two cycles- then they can’t take the House back. The Democrats must, at a bare minimum, win every open seat that was won by both Obama and Clinton. The Republican candidate Dino Rossi is a strong candidate, but even with his strength, this still has to be a pickup for the Democrats if they want to win the House.