The Congress

“As a country, we are becoming more partisan, with our last election the most parliamentary in our history. Every single Senate race was won by the same party as the presidential race in that state, and 400 out of 435 House districts voted the same way for House and president.” [Charlie Cook, 5/25/17]

There is one thing on which Democrats and Republicans agree; when asked whether local issues or national issues are most important when folks cast their votes for Congress, national issues wins, hands down.

  Overall Republican Voters Democratic Voters Undecided
Local issues 21 21 20 32
National issues 70 75 72 46
[Winston Group, 5/25/17]

As of the first week of June, Congress had an approval rating of 11% and a disapproval score of 63%.

66% of Americans are at least somewhat pessimistic (38% are very pessimistic) that Republicans and Democrats in Congress can come together to solve the country’s problems. 21% of Americans are at least “somewhat optimistic” (5% very optimistic) that the opposite is true. [Economist/YouGov, 6/6/17]

The House

[WW relies on the Cook Political Report for the House data below. As of May 26, 2017]

  • Democrats 193
  • Republicans 238
  • Vacancies 4 (3 GOP seats / 1 DEM seat)
  Democrats Republicans
Safe in 2017 173 197
Likely 11 18
Lean 8 19
Tossup 3 6

There is considerable speculation that given the way this administration is operating, the prospects of the Democrats retaking the House in 2018 are getting better and better. These speculations are a bit premature.

The number of staff members available to each rank and file House member has been dropping. In 1995 there were 7,186 aides available to House members. By 2010 the number had dropped to 7,012 aides. In the next five years there was a dramatic drop in the number of aides. As of 2015 there were 6,030.

Interestingly this cut in the staff available to individual House members has been accompanied by an increasingly steep drop in “The number of people working in congressional agencies that provide lawmakers with analysis and expertise…” In 1979 there were 6,499 people in these positions, by 1993 the number had dropped to 6,166, by 1997 to 4,458 and in 2015 to 3,833 aides.
[WP, Wonkblog, 6/12/17]

During the time periods above the use of electronics made up for some of the staff losses but not the expertise, preparation or advice that staff aides provide. [WW]

[WW uses a combination of the Cook Political Report, Inside Politics and Sabato to create the chart below.]

The Senate

  • Democrats 52
  • Republicans 46
  • Vacancies 2
  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2018 23 44
Safe in 2018 12 7
Likely 5



Lean 4



Toss-Ups 3 Democrat

0 Republicans

The prospects of the Democrats taking control of the Senate are somewhere between zero and none.