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Forecasting the Midterm Elections in the Midwest

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The 2018 midterm elections will occur on November 6th. Democrats need to win 23 seats to take back the house and 2 seats to gain control of the Senate. This week we look at 12 midwestern states where there are a handful of opportunities for the Democrats.

A February 4th ABC News/Washington Post poll ( click here) suggests why Democrats look forward to November 6th: "Democrats lead by 14 points among likely voters... But that reflects a vast 38-point Democratic lead in districts already held by Democratic members of Congress. In districts the [GOP] holds, by contrast, it's a tight 45-51 percent Democratic vs. Republican contest." Democrats also lead in enthusiasm: "They lead very widely among those who say it's especially important to vote this year."

A "blue wave" is predicted because experts believe that Democrats are more motivated to vote than are Republicans. Because most Democrats deplore Trump and his Republican Party, Dems are eager to curtail Trump by taking back the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate.

Intensity of feeling should play a critical role in the November 6th elections. In the latest Quinnipiac Poll (l.qu.edu/national/release-detail? ) 57 percent of respondents disapproved of the job Trump is doing (38 percent approved). 49 percent of the poll respondents disapproved strongly (29 percent approved strongly).

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Notably, Trump is losing the support of women. The most recent Washington Post poll indicates that 65 percent of women disapprove of the job Trump is doing.

What is clear from the polls is that there is a big difference in how Trump is viewed in Red and Blue congressional districts. Red district voters support Trump: they feel he is doing a good job, ignore his lies, and believe the investigation into possible collusion with Russia is a hoax. Blue district voters have radically different feelings. This suggests that the 2018 outcome is going to be decided by swing districts. The balance of this article examines the swing districts in the Midwest.

Illinois: The Republican Governor, Bruce Rauner, is up for reelection; the Cook Report rates this as a Toss Up. (The Democratic candidate has yet to be selected.) There are 4 House races of interest:
IL 6 Roskam (R) Toss up
IL 12 Bost (R) Leans Republican
IL 13 Davis (R) Likely Republican
IL 14 Hultgren (R) Likely Republican

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Indiana: One of the Republican primary targets is Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly; the Cook Report rates this race as a toss up.

Iowa: There are 3 House races of interest:
IA 1 Blum (R) toss up
IA 2 Loebsack (D) likely Democrat
IA 3 Young (R) leans Republican

Kansas: The Republican Governor, Colyer, is running for reelection; Cook rates this as likely Republican. There are 2 House races of interest:
KS 2 open (R) Leans Republican
KS 3 Yoder (R) leans Republican

Kentucky: There is 1 House seat of interest; KY 6 Barr (R) is rated as lean Republican.

Michigan: The Republican Governor, Snyder, is term-limited out; Cook rates this race as a toss up. Democratic Senator Stabenow is up for reelection; Cook rates this as likely Democrat. There are 2 house seats of interest:
MI 8 Bishop (R) lean Republican
MI 11 Open (R) toss up

Minnesota: The Democratic Governor, Dayton, is term-limited out; Cook rates this race as a toss up. A recently appointed Democratic Senator, Tina Smith, is up for reelection; Cook rates this as a toss up. There are 4 House races of interest:
MN 1 open (D) toss up
MN 2 open (R) toss up
MN 3 Paulsen (R) lean Republican
MN 8 Nolan (D) toss up

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Missouri: Democratic Senator Clair McCaskill is high on the Republican's hit list; Cook rates this contest as a toss up.

North Dakota: Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp is also a big Republican target; Cook rates this as lean Democrat.

Ohio: The Governor's seat is open as Republican John Kasich is term-limited-out; Cook rates this a lean Republican. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is up for reelection; Cook rates this as lean Democrat.

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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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