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House Forecast: 8 Days to Go

Democratic chances of retaining control of the House are essentially unchanged in today’s FiveThirtyEight forecast. They have a 21 percent chance of doing so, up from 20 percent on Friday; that means Republicans have a 79 percent chance of instead claiming control. The average projection returned a result of 205 Democrats in the House and 230 Republicans, which would reflect a gain of 51 seats for the G.O.P.; this figure is unchanged.

There is little evidence of a change in the fundamental conditions of the race as the campaign enters its final full week.

The Gallup generic ballot poll, which publishes results using two separate turnout models, had its “enthusiasm gap” closing somewhat: it now has Republicans gain either a net of 5 or a net of 10 points when likely voters are accounted for rather than all registered ones, depending on which model is used. This enthusiasm gap is somewhat lesser for Democrats than in past surveys, when Gallup had found differences of as large as 10 and 16 points, respectively, and brings Gallup into better alignment with other polls.

Still, Gallup’s results remain very poor for Democrats over all — showing that Republicans have either a 9 or a 14 point edge among likely voters depending on which poll is used. Those results would probably imply a Republican gain exceeding 50 seats. Another generic ballot poll that publishes weekly, that from Rasmussen Reports, gives Republicans a 9-point edge on the generic ballot, which is broadly consistent with where it has been in recent weeks.

Polling at the local level was, as usual, a mixed bag. A total of six congressional districts saw a material shift in their forecast. The prediction in the Massachusetts Tenth, Georgia Eighth (where Democrat Jim Marshall now has just a 12 percent chance of retaining his seat), Georgia Second and New Jersey Third congressional districts shifted toward Republicans, while the forecast in two Western districts –  Oregon’s Fifth district and Washington’s Second — moved back toward Democrats.

The playing field remains exceptionally broad: the model estimates that there are 109 districts in which each party has at least a 5 percent chance of winning, and 83 in which each party has at least a 10 percent chance. While the parties — particularly the Democrats — have begun moving resources out of a handful of seats that they consider to be lost causes, the field is not likely to consolidate substantially prior to Election Day.

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