Welcome to our live blog for the 2018 midterm elections. From 7pm UK time until the very early hours of Wednesday morning, the LSE US Centrewill be your go-to source for commentary and analysis on the vote and on the results as they come in.

Featured image credit: “I Voted” sticker; N. Pleasant Street Amherst MA” by Léa Aliberti is licensed under CC BY NC 2.0
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Blog Admin October 27, 20183:44 pm

Stay tuned for our live blog of the 2018 US midterm elections!

Blog Admin November 6, 20181:54 pm

When do the polls open, and when do they close?
Like many other parts of America life, when polls open and close varies depending on which state you live in. By now (nearly 2pm UK time), polls on the East Coast and Midwest of the US have been open for at least an hour and in some places like Maine and Connecticut, for more than two. California’s polls will be opening by 3pm UK time.
But when do they close? This handy chart from Daily Kos elections gives us an idea:

As you can see, much of the East Coast won’t be finished voting until 11 or 12pm UK time. For the Midwest and West we will have to wait until 3 or 4am before they close.

Blog Admin November 6, 20183:10 pm

So when will we know the results?
So, most importantly when will we know the results of the midterm elections? Once the polls begin to close, the results will start to come in, state by state, election by election. As they do, we’ll be going back to some of the most important electoral contests that we’ve covered in our Senate race series in the last month or so. And while we should have most of the results by dawn in the UK, if things are close, it could take quite some time to determine who is in control of the House and/or the Senate. In 2014 in California, for instance, it took over two weeks to confirm a Democrat’s House-seat victory.

Blog Admin November 6, 20184:22 pm

Why should you care about the midterms?
If you’re not based in the US, you might well be wondering – “So what, why should I care about these midterm elections?”

If that’s the case, then Rob Ledger (Schiller University) and Peter Finn (Kingston University) have six reasons why you should care: they will be consequential for President Donald Trump and the Mueller investigation into him, the future of the Democratic Party, the US economy, the polling industry, and for US foreign policy. They write:

The nature of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory and the tumultuous events of his time in office, however, will likely put more scrutiny than ever on the November 6th elections. The results will be used to gauge public opinion towards the administration, as well as the post-2016 direction of the Democratic Party. It seems certain the Democrats will make gains, the question is how much.

Blog Admin November 6, 20185:04 pm

Will 2018 be another “Year of the woman?”
You may have seen commentary in recent days and weeks on whether or not 2018 will be another ‘Year of the Woman’. President Trump’s election has certainly galvanized public opinion, and the Women’s Marches of 2017 and 2018 were massive expressions of protest by women against Trump’s perceived sexism and in favor of women’s rights. Many have drawn a line between these protests and the increased engagement of women in politics since Trump’s election.

As FiveThirtyEight have tweeted, there are far far more women running for Congress this year than in any other:

With so many women running, the chances of seeing increased female representation in the US government may be very good.

Blog Admin November 6, 20186:07 pm

Record early voting, but who benefits?
According to the New York Times, by this morning, 38 million ballots had already been cast nationwide, and in 28 states, early votes has surpassed those of the entire 2014 midterm election. In Texas, more people have voted early than did in the 2012 presidential election (presidential election years usually see much higher turnout rates).

But what does this mean? Well, it might not be good for Democrats. In a recent USAPP blog post, Barry Burden, David Canon, Ken Mayer and Donald Moynihan reported on their research which found that letting people vote early benefits Republicans rather than Democrats. They write:

The type of voter who takes advantage of early voting – older, whiter, and wealthier – is already likely to vote, and more likely to vote Republican. Our findings confirm that early voting on its own has a negative and statistically significant effect on Democratic vote share in all three presidential elections we analyzed.

What is better for Democrats, they find, is Election Day registration. This means that you can register to vote and then actually vote on Election Day.

Blog Admin November 6, 20186:57 pm

Welcome to our midterms live blog!
Hello and welcome to our live blog of the 2018 US midterm elections! Here’s a primer on what the midterms are, and why they matter.

What’s the deal with the midterm elections?

Every two years, the US holds elections for all 435 members of the House of Representatives and for about 1/3rd of 100 Senators. When these Congressional elections don’t take place at the same time as a presidential election – which are every four years – it’s known as a ‘midterm’.

Why is everyone talking about the midterms this year?

There are two big reasons. 1) Midterm elections tend to be seen as a referendum on the president’s performance, and the party that’s in power historically loses seats in Congress in these contests. President Trump’s approval ratings are around 40% so we would normally expect to see the Republican Party do poorly in the upcoming midterms. 2) In this year’s elections for the US Senate, the Democratic Party are defending 29 seats, while the Republican Party only have 9 to look out for. This will make it very hard for them to gain control of the Senate once again.

So what’s at stake?

Control of the US government. Unlike in the UK, when the Prime Minister’s party also tends to control the government, in the US, the House of Representatives and the Senate can be controlled by a different party, meaning that they can slow down or even halt the President’s legislative agenda. While retaking the Senate may be a bridge too far for the Democrats in 2018, they only need to win 23 US House seats to take back that part of Congress. Recent US House polls have the Democrats leading the Republican Party by a good margin, so the question is not whether the Democrats can win back the House of Representatives, but by how much.

Is there anything else I should know?

Yes! There are 36 races for state Governors going on, as well as elections for 87 state legislative bodies. The US is a federal system, which means a huge amount of law-making goes on at the state level. Decisions about voting rights, healthcare provision, energy and environmental policies often happen in state capitals. State legislatures also control how US House districts are drawn. At the moment, the Republican Party has total control of 26 US state governments – if the Democrats can win some of those back, then they can influence the redistricting process which may in turn help them to gain more representation in the US Congress in elections to come.

Blog Admin November 6, 20187:21 pm

People reporting difficulties with voting across the States
Voters in a number of states have run into myriad technological and other issues while trying to cast their ballots today.

In Georgia, the headline-grabbing race for the governor’s mansion is between incumbent Republican Brian Kemp and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams. But hundreds of voters have been forced to wait hours as machines malfunction

and lines continue to grow.

Georgia is one of five states that are not using paper ballots for the election, and the lack of backup paper ballots is contributing to delays on the ground. Concerns about election day in Georgia come on the heels of a long campaign that has seen lawsuits filed regarding the purge of several counties’ voter rolls, the prevention of 51,000 voter registrations, and accusations that voting machines were not working properly.

In New York, broken ballot scanners, long lines, and general confusion have caused some voters to walk away without casting their ballots. New York does not offer early voting, mail-in ballots, or no-excuse absentee voting. Only those with an excuse (e.g. being away from the county on election day, illness or disability, etc) can vote absentee. The lack of early voting options may be part of the problem for polling locations today, in addition to the rain that has soaked some voters’ ballots, causing them to jam and break scanners.

Similar issues have arisen in Arizona, where voters discovered that one polling location had been foreclosed on November 5th; Texas, where voters have experienced issues with machines changing their selections; and New Jersey, where machines were malfunctioning and forced voters to cast provisional ballots.

Many of these voters have reported frustration and doubt that their votes will be counted properly in light of these issues.

For an on the ground perspective, USAPP contributor, Jack Santucci of Drexel University has been experiencing problems with voting in Washington DC:

Just voted in Washington, DC. Local election authority apparently has not been able to enter all new registrations nor change-of-address forms into the iPads containing the registry. Must fill out new form, produce piece of mail proving address. PDF on a smartphone is fine.

Blog Admin November 6, 20187:33 pm

Incumbents will still be okay this time around

While there has been talk of an incumbent blood bath at the midtermelections, candidates’ chances of reelection are still high, with a minimum of 85% of seats likely to be retained according to our past contributor Jennifer Victor of George Mason University. Of the 409 incumbents seeking reelection at least 328 are not really in danger.

Blog Admin November 6, 20187:46 pm

Make Sense of the Midterms at our US Centre event tomorrow night!
Confused about what the midterm election results? Tomorrow, the US Centre will be holding an evening of conversation to discuss the midterm results and what they mean for Donald Trump’s presidency and the US. Join Gideon Rachman, David Smith, Leslie Vinjamuri and Linda Yueh as they try to make sense of the US’ new political shake-up.

For more information and livestreaming details, check out our event listing:

http://www.lse.ac.uk/Events/2018/11/20181107t1830vSZT/making-sense

Blog Admin November 6, 20187:59 pm

What about the polls?
Following Donald Trump’s election victory two years ago many thought that the polls were ‘broken’ (one of our articles reckons that better poll sampling would have cast greater doubt on Hillary Clinton winning the election). So naturally, there’s been a massive amount of attention on polls this time around.

Writing for USAPP last month, Ronald Ranta of Kingston University argued that the real problem for pollsters is knowing who will turnout:

Nevertheless, the main problem pollsters’ face is in gauging who will turn out to vote. The turnout during the midterm is normally lower than for presidential election, with white, older and college educated more likely to vote..

But let’s also remember, there’s more to elections than polls. After, all politicians are elected to enact policy. Leah Stokes thinks that the campaigns are not using policy polls a great deal:

Blog Admin November 6, 20188:22 pm

Waiting to vote

One theme already in this election has been how long people are waiting to vote in many polling places. US Centre friends and family have been sending through some images of people in line to vote:


Credit for above photo: Jefry Andres Wright

Blog Admin November 6, 20188:26 pm

The significance of the US midterms for the rest of the world: climate change

As NPR has noted, midterm elections in the US typically don’t garner much international attention. But this year there has been more international coverage about the midterms, in part because this election will have far-reaching implications on a number of issues.

One of the most important international issues that may be affected by the outcome of the midterms is whether or not the US joins the rest of the world in acting on climate change. Trump withdrew the US from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement soon after taking office, and his administration recently published a report that claimed 7 degrees Celsius of atmospheric warming is unavoidable. Since his election, the Trump administration has attempted to halt a lawsuit filed by American youth regarding climate change against the federal government, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rolled back Obama-era fuel and emissions standards and reduced monitoring and mitigation requirements of methane emissions for oil and gas companies.

But climate change as an issue is growing in importance at the state and federal level. In Washington state, Ballot Initiative 1631 could make the Evergreen state the first with a carbon tax. Oil companies and other emitters would be charged to emit greenhouse gases – and if the measure passes, it will be one of the most aggressive climate policies in the country. Oil companies have spent nearly $30 million to oppose the initiative.

Outside groups are also looking to help voters understand which representatives take climate change seriously. The Vote Climate US PAC has ranked every candidate for House and Senate races based on their policy positions and public statements about climate change. The top five Senate incumbents are all Democrats, while the bottom five slots are populated exclusively by Republicans.

Blog Admin November 6, 20188:37 pm

Stickers, Stickers, Stickers!
Even though “I Voted” stickers have been a tradition for many elections now (at least since the 1980s), they might have been ahead of their time: there’s notning more more perfectly suited to today’s social-media-driven political environment than this selfie accessory. They’re a fun way to give people a small reward for getting out and doing their civic duty, and they’re a good way to send a message to other people that they should vote, too. We’re not the only fans of the stickers: voters have been incredibly disappointed by the shortage of stickers in some places.


Check out some of the ‘I voted’ stickers that our friends across the pond are wearing today:

Mr & Mrs Jackson. Philadelphia, PA (Pennsylvania)

Washington DC

Blog Admin November 6, 20188:44 pm

What’s the weather got to do with it?

While some parts of the US are experiencing adverse weather conditions, according to Viviana Rivera-Burgos, Narayani Lasala-Blanco and Robert Y. Shapiro on the USAPP blog not even hurricanes can dissuade voters from heading to the polls. Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 caused widespread devastation to large parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Major flooding caused road blockages, power outages and the stopping of all public transport, suggesting an inordinate amount of effort to vote. Despite this, and the fact of a non-competitive election, there was little difference in the individual decision to vote on November 6, 2012 in New York City.

We argue that, under certain circumstances, personal motivation to vote can override minor and even major costs of voting, even in noncompetitive elections, especially in local institutional contexts where political parties have consistently socialized and mobilized economically disadvantaged groups and minorities. When citizens perceive an election as either being an historic one (i.e., one that can alter major political and other arrangements in the country), or one that can have long-lasting effects on the immediate community of the voter, they are willing to endure costs such as low temperatures, long lines, and even traveling to distant polling places.’

While Uber and Lyft have helped try to ease this effort with free rides, as we have seen the technological issues, long queuing lines and polls not opening on time mean that voters have had more than just the weather to battle through today.

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:03 pm

Big in Texas
Ahead of Election Day, we’ve been asking academic experts in states with close races for the United States Senate to comment on what’s been going on. One of the most talked about races has been in Texas, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke is challenging the incumbent Ted Cruz – and he’s giving Cruz a run for his money. For USAPP last month, Heather Evans of Sam Houston University wrote that:

There are so many things about this Senate election that are noteworthy. First, it is in Texas. The Lone Star State, which has not elected a Democrat to statewide public office since the early 1990s, is actually seeing a competitive race. The latest poll numbers show that the race itself is a toss-up. How is this possible? What makes a race competitive?

Heather was also a guest in our Ballpark podcast episode, The Lone Star State You Don’t Know, which was released today. Take a listen while you’re waiting for the results to come.

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:05 pm

What’s going on in Texas?
Ahead of Election Day, we’ve been asking academic experts in states with close races for the United States Senate to comment on what’s been going on. One of the most talked about races has been in Texas, where Democrat Beto O’Rourke is challenging the incumbent Ted Cruz – and he’s giving Cruz a run for his money. For USAPP last month, Heather Evans of Sam Houston University wrote that:

There are so many things about this Senate election that are noteworthy. First, it is in Texas. The Lone Star State, which has not elected a Democrat to statewide public office since the early 1990s, is actually seeing a competitive race. The latest poll numbers show that the race itself is a toss-up. How is this possible? What makes a race competitive?

Heather was also a guest in our Ballpark podcast episode, The Lone Star State You Don’t Know, which was released today. Take a listen while you’re waiting for the results to come.

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:07 pm

Cute break

Well this is certainly the the cutest midterms related tweet we’ve seen so far:

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:24 pm

Peter Finn of Kingston University, who co-curated our Making Sense of the Midterms blog series has just sent through his insights on the role of one of the 2016 election’s important figures, former FBI James Comey:

On a personality level, one of the most interesting things about this election has to be the continued transformation of James Comey.

Two years ago many democrats blamed him for Clinton losing, but this time around he is managing to pitch himself as a reasonable democrat leaning middle of the road type of fella who believes in a bi-partisan vision of US exceptionalism. In his NYT op-ed today, for instance, he argued that ‘[e]very American should be speaking about our nation’s values. Every American should be voting those values, which are far more important than even the most passionate policy differences. The history of America consoles us, but also calls us to action.’ Two years ago, it is unlikely many would have seen him being able to pull this of. Although it obviously helps that Trump went, well, full-Trump on him…

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:28 pm

Is this is beginning of the end for Trump?

For some, the midterm elections are providing a beacon of hope and the opportunity for previously silenced voices to be heard.

Mark Shanahan of the University of Reading, writes on the USAPP blog that there is potential for the Democratic Party to make significant inroads back into Congress following the November 6th vote. If this happens, then Trump’s presidency will be impotent and exposed. And in the face of a divided government, he argues, Trump may even make his exit sooner rather than later:

He will cause a fuss. He will blame everyone else; he will retreat to Trump Tower. & he will go. Quickly & with fireworks”

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:31 pm

The economy always looms large in US elections – including midterms

As part of USAPP’s Making Sense of the Midterms series, economist Linda Yueh wrote about how the tax cut passed by the Senate earlier this year might prove to be a particularly well-timed bit of support for Republican candidates.

Voters care not only about the economy generally, but specifically their own wages. With unemployment at record low levels, below 4 percent, and strong jobs growth each month, income is expected to pick up. After a decade where wage growth had lagged behind productivity growth or what a worker produces in an hour, better income growth will add to voters’ positive views of the economy.

The electorate of course votes on a number of dimensions, which fall outside of economics. But their own economic circumstances play a role. And as US economic growth likely peaked in the second quarter of the year and will be substantially better than last year – that will factor favourably into voter perceptions of their members of Congress and Senators.“

Even though the trade war with China is also important to factor into economic projections, it’s not clear that it will sway voters. Yueh notes that the impact of the Trump tax cut might be detrimental for the US economy in the long run, but those effects might not be felt until well after the midterm elections, making it a key short-term boon for those representatives that supported it.

Blog Admin November 6, 20189:39 pm

The 2018 memeterms

Politics seems to have taken over social media for the moment. But let’s not forget that people are still finding time to have a bit of fun. Here are are a few of our favorite 2018 midterms Twitter memes (with more to follow over the rest of the night):

Blog Admin November 6, 201810:13 pm

Not just elections – policies are on the ballot, too

In the US midterms, it’s not just lawmakers that are on the ballots; voters will also decide on initiatives and one of the key ones this year is cannabis policy. Michigan and North Dakota will vote on marijuana legalization whilst Utah and Missouri are deciding on legalizing cannabis for medical use.

With nine states and the District of Columbia already allowing for recreational marijuana use and many more permitting the drug for medical purposes, today’s results could have ramifications for cannabis law reform at the national, and possibly even international, level. For more on cannabis in North America, read Wayne Hall’s recent USAPP blog post on the topic.

Blog Admin November 6, 201810:42 pm

More photos from the US

Our friends and family have sent over some more photos from various polling places in the US.

Maryland


Virginia 5th District


New Jersey

Washington DC

Maryland


Maryland

Blog Admin November 6, 201810:43 pm

Medicaid Expansion on State Ballots
The decision to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid – a healthcare insurance program designed to help low income Americans – is on the ballot in four states tonight. The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, included a provision that would expand Medicaid to cover healthcare for those up to 138% of the federal poverty level, and then subsidize coverage for those above 138% and up to a higher limit. However, the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to mandate states to cover those between 100% and 138% of the poverty level under Medicaid, and that the states would have to choose whether or not to accept federal funds. Voters in Idaho (Proposition 2), Nebraska (Initiative 427) and Utah (Proposition 3) have the option to expand coverage to people whose income levels are up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Line, while Montana (I-185) voters will vote on whether to continue to accept Medicaid funds.

For more information on Medicaid, listen to our recent Tennessee episode of The Ballpark podcast.

Blog Admin November 6, 201810:52 pm

When women run, they win

Earlier this evening, we looked at whether 2018 would be a good one for women candidates. Let’s dig a bit deeper into why that might be the case.

Recent research from Lindsey Cormack and Kristyn Karl has found that – contradicting previous research – both women and men prefer female politicians, perceiving them to be more competent, intelligent, compassionate and sincere compared to their male counterparts.

They write:

Looking among male respondents only, we found that Democrats assess women politicians significantly more favorably than men, whereas Republicans (52 percent of men in our sample) see fewer differences between male and female politicians on average.

Blog Admin November 6, 201811:01 pm

Polls are closing – but when will we know what the results are?

Polls are closing now in Indiana and Kentucky. Part of what makes exit polls, liveblogging, and results projections so intriguing – and crazy-making – is that polls across the states open and close at varying times. And, even more confusingly, reporting times vary widely, too. Florida, for example, often takes a long time to count and announce its totals. Oftentimes, news and media sites will call an election almost immediately after the polls close, due to predictable voting patterns or pre-election polling that puts one candidate firmly in front of another.

But actually counting votes takes a long time because it’s a decentralized, multi-step process: precincts have to close; poll workers have to ensure there are no extra or missing ballots; ballots have to be delivered to a central location either by phone, modem (for those voting machines connected to a telephone line), or by hand; provisional ballots and others coming in slowly have to be counted; and finally, votes are certified (which can take several weeks, especially in disputed races). That’s why predictions of results early in the night might be vastly different from the final outcomes at the end of the night, as we saw in 2016.

Blog Admin November 6, 201811:17 pm

Braun ahead in the Hoosier State?

CNN are now talking about early returns from Indiana – one percent of votes have been counted. While the polls in the Hoosier State are yet to close, they are reporting that the Republican challenger, Mike Braun is leading the Democratic incumbent, Joe Donnelly.

Last month, Laura Merrifield Wilson of the University of Indianapolis wrote on the race, commenting that:

The race for Indiana Senate between Donnelly and Braun represents one of the most competitive and unusual races in this election cycle. As the election draws near, Indiana voters will be considering positions and personalities over partisanship as they cast their ballots. For Hoosier voters, it is their representation at stake; for the national audience that waits and watches, it is the tenuous balance of partisanship within the Senate, the slight Republican advantage and the slim Democratic minority. Whether it is retained or changed is the question to which Donnelly and Braun, respectively, will answer.

Blog Admin November 6, 201811:31 pm

Prediction time!
Now that pizza has arrived for the US Centre live blogging team, it’s prediction time! So what do we all think will happen?

Sarah (State of the States): Democrats take the House, but come out worse in the Senate, because the map is not in their favor.

Michaela (Ballpark podcast producer): Democrats will do well in the House – women candidates will do well at all levels.

Chris (USAPP Blog Manager): Democrats to retake the House with a majority of only 5 to 10, and to lose 3 to 5 seats in the Senate. Beto O’Rourke will do poorly in Texas but there will be a surprise upset in a gubernatorial race: Scott Walker will probably lose in Wisconsin and Andrew Gillum will scrape through in Florida (even though Bill Nelson will lose his Senate seat).

Ade Akande (US Centre Manager): More women!

Blog Admin November 6, 201811:46 pm

Voter fraud: The Phantom Menace

Tweets like this remind us that people are worried about voter fraud, but that it’s really not very common.


So why are people seemingly worried about something that’s seemingly not a problem? Last week, Brian J. Fogarty, David C. Kimball, and Adriano Udani reported in USAPP on their research on the media’s relationship with people’s fears about voter fraud. They find that these fears are heightened in states where local media mention voter fraud more often:

In particular, press attention to voter fraud had a larger effect on Republicans than for Democrats or Independents. The level of political interest had a further conditioning effect on Republicans, where those who were politically interested perceived voter fraud was more frequent and a larger problem than Republicans who were not politically interested.

Blog Admin November 7, 201812:04 am

Ballot measures – voting

Measures to change the way districts are drawn are on the ballot in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah. These could be crucial, as partisan gerrymandering has a large impact on the chances that each candidate has of winning a district. Here’s a breakdown of what’s on the ballot:

– Colorado Amendment Y would create a 12 person commission to approve district maps for Colorado’s congressional districts.

– Michigan’s Proposal 2 would transfer power to draw districts from the Michigan State Legislature to an independent redistricting commission.

– Missouri’s Amendment 1 would create a position of state demographer to draw legislative redistricting maps and then presenting them to House and Senate commissions for approval.

– Utah’s Proposition 4 would create a seven member independent redistricting commission to draft district maps.

Blog Admin November 7, 201812:10 am

More photos!
We’ve had even more photos in from family and friends in the US.

Virginia

New York

Wolf Point, Montana

Ohio

Wolf Point, Montana

Blog Admin November 7, 201812:16 am

Odds and ends

The US is so large that if you look across the entire country, then there will be some repetition in elections:

– Elizabeth Warren is the incumbent US Senator for Massachusetts. Elizabeth Warren is also running for California’s 76th Assembly District.

– Two men with the same name are running for Vermont House seats

Blog Admin November 7, 201812:23 am

Will Latinos save Beto in Texas?

Much is being made of the large Hispanic population in Texas helping Democrat Beto O’Rourke turn the state blue. However, a breakdown of its population by age shows a third of Texas’s Hispanics are below voting age. Furthermore, voter registration and turnout among young Latinos continues to be low in the southern state. Therefore, work will have to be done to mobilize these future voters if they are to help lead a blue wave in Texas.

The latest episode of The Ballpark, released earlier today, delves into more detail about what’s happening in Texas’s Senate race.

Blog Admin November 7, 201812:42 am

Take me home to West Virginia

Let’s have a quick look at West Virginia, where the polls have just closed. There, the Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin is facing off a challenge from the state’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. In late October, Matthew Jacobsmeier wrote a profile of the race, commenting that:

Manchin is currently the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. While more liberal than any Republican senator, during his 2012 campaign, Manchin promised to cut federal spending, fight federal regulations, and protect gun rights.

In a state which has swung towards the Republican Party in recent years, victory for the Democrat – even one as conservative as Manchin – is far from certain.

Blog Admin November 7, 20181:03 am

$111 million for a ballot measure

We’ve already been talking a bit about ballot measures across the US in this year’s midterms. One that has surprised us the most is a Golden State measure which would cap the profits of dialysis companies. Apparently those companies have spent over $111 million to fight this measure, making it the most expensive ballot measure since at least 2002.
Blog Admin November 7, 20181:15 am

The Migrant Caravan

How will the migrantcaravan from centralamerica affect midterm elections? According to a Kaiser Foundation poll, immigration is the most important issue for 15% of all voters, though the number jumps to 25% among Republican voters. It may have encouraged Republicans to vote early, which may account for at least some of the larger early voting figures we’ve been seeing.

Blog Admin November 7, 20181:26 am

Democrats’ uphill battle for the Senate this year

Texas aside, those watching the election returns come in may notice that it’s not been a great night for their party. Not only are they defending 26 US Senate seats to Republicans’ nine, many of those are in states won by Donald Trump in 2016.

But there still may be another reason for the Democrats’ difficulties: Republicans’ historical advantage in holding open seats.

In a July post for the USAPP blog, Hanna K. Brant, L. Marvin Overby, and Theodore J. Masthay wrote:

The results from our model indicate that – once other factors have been accounted for – Republicans are between 1 and 9.6 percent more likely to hold their open seats than Democrats. That is not only itself statistically significant, but indicates that the roughly 10 percent advantage for Republicans seen in our initial analysis is still the case even after controlling for a number of variables.

Blog Admin November 7, 20181:46 am

Is democracy at a crossroads in the Americas?

From the Guardian:

“Despite differing histories and cultures, recent political events and electoral campaigns in Brazil and the US exhibited striking similarities. In North and South America alike, they raise a haunting question: in the human rights struggles of the 21st century, who will count as citizens?”

Like Trump, Brazil’s newly elected Jair Bolsonaro speaks in fiercely derogatory ways about women, racial minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. Like Trump, Bolsonaro favors encouraging police to shoot first and ask later and praises authoritarian rulers.

Like Trump, Bolsonaro follows the demagogues’ playbook and makes a sham out of previously respected norms, signaling his contempt for media and institutions that oppose him. The question is what will Bolsonaro or Trump say or do next?

Blog Admin November 7, 20181:56 am

So what is the rest of the world saying about the US midterms?
Will the midterm elections affect Trump’s Middle East strategy?

“Donald Trump is likely to engage much more seriously in the Middle East after the US midterms.” By Joe Macaron for Al Jazeera.

– The Vote has implications for foreign policy, trade and defense.- Politico

– Asia Eyes US Midterm Elections With Anxiety, HopeNew York Times

“In South Korea, the concern is that Trump might sour on North Korea after months of bold engagement. For China, the hope is he might be forced to ease off on trade.”

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:07 am

Whither Wisconsin?

It’s 9pm in the Badger State, which means the polls there have closed. There incumbent Governor, Republican Scott Walker has not had an easy ride against his Democratic challenger, Tony Evers, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Last week, Wendy Scattergood of St. Norbert College wrote that Walker was facing a rising tide of dissatisfaction with President Trump and a potentially energized Democratic Party:

The question that people in Wisconsin are asking is whether a 2018 Blue Wave will look like the reverse of the Republican Wave of 2010 in the state.

We’ll know soon whether Scott Walker will be able to stay on in the governor’s mansion in Wisconsin.

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:11 am

A new Democratic Trifecta in Illinois
Democrat J.B. Pritzker has unseated incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race. If the Illinois State Senate and State House remain Democratic, the state will become Democrats’ ninth trifecta. A trifecta is achieved when all three branches of state government – the governorship, the state senate, and the state house – are controlled by the same party.

Heading into the midterms there were 26 Republican trifectas and just eight Democratic trifectas, while 16 states were under divided government. Seven governors of each party have retained their seats this election cycle, while all the others are holding elections today. This would seem to give Democrats an advantage, but each state has its own complex political landscape. Our new interactive resource, The State of the States, is a useful tool to understand these state governments. Most state-level seats are up for election today, so check back to see how the map changes.

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:16 am

Florida restores voting rights to those convicted of felonies

Floridians just voted to automatically restore voting rights to people previously convicted of felonies. As Florida Senate and Gubernatorial results are seeking in slowly, this addition of nearly 1.5 million people to the electorate would contribute about 9.2 percent of the state’s voting-age population. Black people are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated, so they are likely to benefit the most. Incidentally, they are also more likely to vote democratic. Florida has a history of being a politically contentious state, and this large addition could shift the electorate to the left.

This past February, Sarah Shannon and Christopher Uggen wrote for the USAPP blog that restoring the vote to those convicted of a felony sentence is not just the right thing to do, it’s good social science. They argued that the benefits of restoring voting rights to citizens who have served their time could be far-reaching and include decreasing racial disparities, enhancing public safety, and extending democracy.

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:50 am

The 2018 midterms in firsts
No matter which party ends up controlling which part of Congress, there have already been some important firsts even at this relatively early stage of the evening.

– First black woman elected to congress in Massachusetts: Ayanna Pressley

– Youngest female representative (29): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York

– First openly gay governor: Jared Polis of Colorado

– First female Senator for Arizona: whoever wins

– First Muslim woman elected to US Congress: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, also first Somali-American in Congress. If Rashida Tlaib keeps her lead in Michigan, she will join the cohort of firsts

– Marsha Blackburn: first female senator from Tennessee

-Veronica Escobar: first Lantinx Congresswoman from Texas

– Sharice Davids: first Native American Congresswoman (is from Kansas)

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:55 am

The Latest from Wisconsin

And here’s the latest from the Badger state from USAPP blog contributor, Wendy Scattergood of St. Norbert College:

Rainy day here (very English 🙂 – but it didn’t keep people from turning out. Steady stream of voters around the Green Bay area here.

In addition to the governor’s race, I’m also watching the state senate. Republicans currently hold a 3 seat majority, but the senate flips majorities very often and typically does it during midterm elections. There are a few vulnerable seats in Obama –> Trump areas.

Our state senate has 4 year terms, so half the senate is up now and will be in office during the redistricting process after the 2020 census.

Early exit polls are showing an edge across the state slightly in favor of Democrats, so we’ll see how representative those exit polls are as we have more results come in.

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:56 am

The 2018 midterms in firsts
No matter which party ends up controlling which part of Congress, there have already been some important firsts even at this relatively early stage of the evening.

– First black woman elected to congress in Massachusetts: Ayanna Pressley

– Youngest female representative (29): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York

– First openly gay governor: Jared Polis of Colorado

– First female Senator for Arizona: whoever wins

– First Muslim woman elected to US Congress: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, also first Somali-American in Congress. If Rashida Tlaib keeps her lead in Michigan, she will join the cohort of firsts

– Marsha Blackburn: first female senator from Tennessee

-Veronica Escobar: first Lantinx Congresswoman from Texas

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:56 am

The 2018 midterms in firsts

No matter which party ends up controlling which part of Congress, there have already been some important firsts even at this relatively early stage of the evening.

– First black woman elected to congress in Massachusetts: Ayanna Pressley

– Youngest female representative (29): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York

– First openly gay governor: Jared Polis of Colorado

– First female Senator for Arizona: whoever wins

– First Muslim woman elected to US Congress: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, also first Somali-American in Congress. If Rashida Tlaib keeps her lead in Michigan, she will join the cohort of firsts

– Marsha Blackburn: first female senator from Tennessee

-Veronica Escobar: first Latinx Congresswoman from Texas

Blog Admin November 7, 20183:17 am

The 2018 midterms in firsts
No matter which party ends up controlling which part of Congress, there have already been some important firsts even at this relatively early stage of the evening.

– First black woman elected to congress in Massachusetts: Ayanna Pressley

– Youngest female representative (29): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York

– First openly gay governor: Jared Polis of Colorado

– First female Senator for Arizona: whoever wins

– First Muslim woman elected to US Congress: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, also first Somali-American in Congress. If Rashida Tlaib keeps her lead in Michigan, she will join the cohort of firsts

– Marsha Blackburn: first female senator from Tennessee

– Veronica Escobar: first Lantinx Congresswoman from Texas

– Sharice Davids: first Native American Congresswoman (is from Kansas)

Blog Admin November 7, 20183:22 am

Troika of Tyranny

US National Security Advisor, John Bolton on Thursday announced new sanctions against Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, including the banning of US citizens from involvement in the Venezuelan gold sector in what is seen as a clear political tactic for the midterms in another attempt to instill fear in Americans of Latin American immigration into the states.

“There’s a very clear connecting line between racial hatred, between the migrant march of Hondurans and between these later statements about Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba”

Blog Admin November 7, 20183:45 am

What will the midterms mean for the Golden State?

The polls in California will be closing within half an hour. The state’s current Lieutenant Governor Democrat, Gavin Newsom and businessman and Republican John Cox are fighting it out for the state’s governorship.

In June, Renée Van Vechten wrote that with the “boldly liberal” Newsom as the state’s governor, the state’s Democratic legislature may need to keep him in check in order to avoid alienating the state’s lighter blue inhabitants.

Blog Admin November 7, 20183:47 am

More firsts

And here are some more firsts from this year’s midterms:

– Rashida Tlaib joins Ilhan Omar as first Muslim women in Congress

– Jahana Hayes, first black woman elected to congress from Connecticut

– Deb Haaland (New Mexico) first native American congresswoman alongside Sharice Davids

Blog Admin November 7, 20184:14 am

Democrats predicted to retake the US House – what’s next?

CNN are projecting that the Democratic Party will hold a majority in the US House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. So what does this mean? Ahead of today’s vote, our contributors looked ahead to predict what might happen next if the Democrats were able to win the House.

US Centre Director, Professor Peter Trubowitz wrote that:

Trump will have much less room to maneuver domestically. Talk of additional tax cuts, dismantling Obamacare, and building “the Wall” will be just that — talk. Domestically, the main plays Trump will have are infrastructure, trade, and big Pharma (cutting drug prices), though much would depend on how willing he is to align his proposals with the Democrats and whether they think they are better off obstructing. Trump would likely continue trying to roll back regulations through executive order, but Democrats would now be in a position to challenge those. Meanwhile, Trump would quickly find himself facing a drumbeat of Democratic investigations into Mueller’s findings, the Trump family’s business dealings, and the actions of his administration.

While Mark Shanahan argued that such a result could be the beginning of the end for Trump:

Much more likely is that the House will turn blue with a two-year red reprieve at Senate level. Trump could fight on in 2020, but we would then be far more likely to see the Democrats take the Upper House – even with their ongoing absence of policy, strategy and emerging nationally recognized figures (the old-guard of Warren/Pelosi/Sanders aside – they’re not the future).

And Allan J. Lichtman suggested that impeachment could well be on the cards for President Trump:

The Democratic Party leadership won’t talk about it for fear of stirring up Republican voters. But a Democratic take-over of the US House of Representatives makes an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump by the Judiciary Committee a near certainty.

Blog Admin November 7, 20184:21 am

What do the midterm results mean for Trump’s potential collaboration with Bolsonaro in Brazil?

With the Republicans projected to retain control of the Senate, and the Democrats projected to win the House, what does this mean for Trump and suggestions of a new rightwing axis in the Americas with the recent victory of far-right candidate Bolsonaro?

The victory of Bolsonaro in the Brazilian presidential election was good news for Trump, declaring that he will ‘work closely’ with the far-right leader, with the potential to reshape politics in the region. There has been talk of military collaboration, where one particular focus will be Venezuela, where trump has threatened intervention. But will the midterms effect Trump’s powers and have a wider effect on the region?

Blog Admin November 7, 20184:32 am

Goodnight from the US Centre live blog team!

It’s 4:30am here in the UK – and it looks like the projected results are likely to become the actual results.

The Republican Party keeps the US Senate but the Democrats retake the US House.

We’re going to leave you with this link to a video of a victory speech by LSE Alumna, Mikie Sherrill who has just won New Jersey’s 11th Congressional district:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1BdxYOaXaaNGX

Blog Admin November 7, 20182:17 pm

The last word is from Nevada
Good afternoon everyone! We had one last update overnight UK time, as Jennifer Ring of the University of Nevada, Reno, got in touch to tell us about polling in Northern Nevada:

It’s 9:30 at night now in Nevada, and there are still people waiting in line to vote in Washoe County (Northern Nevada). The polls closed at 7:00, but if you were in line then, you will be able to vote. Folks have been waiting in line for almost three hours after the official close of the polls. The turnout rate is 68% in this election…the highest voter turnout in the history of Nevada midterm elections. Almost as many as turned out in 2016 to vote for president.

So there is no word at all about how the Nevada election is going: no results will be released until the last voter waiting in line has cast their ballot. I have never experienced a delay this long in any election…usually you have projected winners or actual results within a half an hour of the polls closing. This is obviously regarded as an exceptionally important election. High voter turnouts usually favor the Democrats, but we’ll see.

Jennifer also sent through a photo of the lines at her local polls: