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For First Time, Model Has G.O.P. Favored to Win 50-Plus House Seats

Republican chances of taking over the House are now up to 80 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight forecast model; they had been 75 percent two days ago.

In an average simulation, the model projected that the Republicans will control 230 seats when the new Congress convenes in January; that would reflect a 51-seat gain from their current standing and would be close to the 54-seat gain that they achieved in 1994. This is the first time we have published a forecast putting the Republican over-under line at a number higher than 50 seats.

As we remind our readers with each update, there is considerable uncertainty in the forecast. Democrats have a 20 percent chance of holding the House — but Republicans have a 30 percent chance of winning at least 60 seats, a 12 percent chance of winning at least 70 seats, and a 3 percent chance of winning 80 or more seats. We would advise against interpreting our forecast as a prediction that Republicans will win some particular number of seats. Instead, it should be thought of as being equivalent to a point spread.

The individual districts to show the largest improvement in the chances for Republican control are as follows: the Oregon 5th (to 66 percent from 38 percent), the Mississippi 4th (to 65 percent from 48 percent), the Texas 23rd (to 55 percent from 40 percent), the New York 22nd (to 12 percent from 4 percent), the Colorado 3rd (to 61 percent from 53 percent), and the New York 20th (to 42 percent from 34 percent).

Their forecast is also improved in North Dakota’s at-large district (to 88 percent from 81 percent) and in Alan Grayson’s district, the Florida 8th (to 75 percent from 68 percent). These changes mostly reflect new polling, or changes in the prognoses provided by experts like Cook Political and the Rothenberg Political Report, which continue to move batches of seats toward Republicans.

Few individual seats moved materially toward the Democrats with this update; their best result was in the Pennsylvania 17th, where their chance of holding the seat improved to 99 percent from 93 percent.

Democrats also got some good polling news in the Michigan 15th Congressional District, where a new nonpartisan poll shows Representative John Dingell with a reasonably safe, 17-point lead, contradicting a dubious survey that had shown the Republican Rob Steele ahead. However, because the model had not considered a defeat for Mr. Dingell to be very likely in the first place, this does not do much to do to improve their overall forecast.

A nonpartisan poll was also released for the first time in another closely-watched district, the Massachusetts 4th, where Barney Frank is running. It gave Mr. Frank a 12-point lead, which is fairly safe. Nevertheless, as the model had considered Mr. Frank about a 17-point favorite before, it has the Republican Sean Bielat’s chances improving slightly to 4 percent from 2 percent.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.