There has been much talk of a "Big Blue Wave" in the midterm elections but little discussion of what a wave election actually is. A Ballotpedia analysis reviewed 50 election cycles from 1918 to 2016 and determined that the party out of power must pick up at least 48 House seats to truly qualify as a wave election.
This report defines a wave election as one in which the winning party nets more seats than 80% of all election cycles in the past 100 years.
It must be noted, of course, that the Democrats could win control of Congress this fall without a wave election. Currently, the Democrats need to win 23 seats to gain control, less than half the total needed to qualify as a wave.
Ballotpedia also calculated that Democrats would need to gain "seven U.S. Senate seats, seven gubernatorial seats, and 494 state legislative seats for each group of elections to qualify historically as a wave against the president's party in November 2018."
As shown above, even a wave election in November would not be enough to give Democrats a majority of the nation’s state legislative seats or governorships.
A race-by-race analysis at ScottRasmussen.com suggests that it is quite possible for the Democrats to win enough governorships to qualify as a wave election.
- This number was calculated in April 2018 and assumed that Republicans would have a 240-195 majority at the time of the 2018 elections.
- ScottRasmussen.com, "2018 Gubernatorial Races," accessed June 22, 2018
Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.
Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People’s Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read more reports from Scott Rasmussen — Click Here Now.
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