Sabato's Crystal Ball: Dems will pick up more than 30 House seats, GOP set to keep Senate

Sabato's Crystal Ball: Dems will pick up more than 30 House seats, GOP set to keep Senate
© Greg Nash

Sabato's Crystal Ball is projecting that Democrats will comfortably win control of the House during Tuesday's midterm elections, while Republicans will slightly expand their majority in the Senate.

The election handicapper warned Monday, however, that upsets in both chambers are possible. 

The forecaster also projected Democrats will cruise to a number of victories in gubernatorial races across the country.

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In the House, the final ratings from the University of Virginia's Center for Politics have 229 seats that are at least leaning Democrat and 206 leaning toward Republicans. The forecast projects Democrats will pick up 34 seats, 11 more than they need to regain control of the lower chamber.

Kyle Kondik and Larry J. Sabato, the editors of the forecast, write in their projections that the House isn't a "done deal" for Democrats — but also cautioned that they could be underestimating the party's gains. 

"We don’t think readers should be stunned if things go haywire for Democrats tomorrow night. That said, it may be just as likely — or even more likely — that we’re understating the Democrats in the House," they write, adding that Democrats could actually end up gaining between 35 and 40 seats.

The forecasters note that Republican Reps. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungTulsi Gabbard, Don Young introduce marijuana reform bill Alaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race MORE (Alaska), Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race House Dems release 2020 GOP 'retirements to watch' for House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (Calif.), Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingLouisiana rep calls Steve King a 'white supremacist' after Katrina comment Steve King contrasts New Orleans to Iowa on disaster response: 'Iowans take care of each other' Pompeo bemoans anti-Semitic language 'even in the great halls of our own Capitol' MORE (Iowa), Greg GianforteGregory Richard GianforteJournalists seek federal, state support for right to inform the public Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo criticize Trump’s response to Coast Guard lieutenant's arrest Sarah Sanders: Trump hasn't ‘at any point’ done anything but ‘condemn violence against journalists' MORE (Mont.) and Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Don’t look for House GOP to defy Trump on border wall MORE (N.Y.) all face potentially difficult reelection bids in races that would typically be seen as safe reelections. 

In the Senate, the final ratings have 52 seats at least leaning Republican and 48 at least leaning Democrat, meaning the forecast projects the GOP will expand its current 51-49 majority by a single seat. 

Kondik and Sabato write that an upset in the Senate is still possible, but note that Democrats would likely need to win every seat where they are currently favored in addition to holding onto both Indiana and Missouri and winning one of North Dakota, Tennessee or Texas. 

The forecasters say they have been "flooded with messages from credible contacts in Texas, from both sides of the aisle," warning them not to discount the possibility that Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeCNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary Michael Bennet 'encouraged' in possible presidential bid: report House Dems unveil measure to reject anti-Israel boycotts MORE (D) could defeat incumbent Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCNN town halls put network at center of Dem primary The Memo: Trump can't let go of McCain grudge Michael Bennet 'encouraged' in possible presidential bid: report MORE (R). 

"The energy on O’Rourke’s side, they say, is palpable. This all may be reminiscent of the grassroots energy that helped power Trump himself to victory in 2016. Of course, analysis by anecdote isn’t always the right formula," they write. 

In the gubernatorial races, the forecasters project that Democrats could net 10 governorships, which would result in the party holding a majority of the governor's mansions in the country. Currently, Republicans make up 33 of the nation's governors, Democrats hold 16 and an independent, Gov. Bill Walker, holds Alaska. 

The prediction model rates the closely watched race in Georgia between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp as a "toss-up/leans run-off." The two would face off again on Dec. 4 if neither gets a majority of the votes.