US Politics

G. Elliott Morris

5 minute read

Note: This article was written in conjunction with Alexander Agadjanian, a fellow political science undergraduate student at Dartmouth College. Follow him on Twitter @a_agadjanian.

Voters are often overanalyzed. They’re put into buckets based on their party or ideology. They are often assumed to have consistent policy preferences — either liberal or conservative — across various issue domains. But this is hardly the case. One of the more longstanding and well-established findings from political science research on political beliefs has been that Americans aren’t particularly ideologically coherent.

How am I Forecasting the 2018 House Midterm Election?

Combining National and Local Electoral Preferences to Forecast the 2018 US House Midterms

G. Elliott Morris

16 minute read

It has been roughly two weeks since I launched my forecasting model for the 2018 midterm elections to the House of Representatives. Current generic ballot polling gives Democrats a 7.2 percentage point edge in the national popular vote, roughly where it has been since a month after Donald Trump became president. The forecasting model estimates, contrary to what a 7.2% lead would imply, that Democrats have just a 22% chance of winning the House majority on November 6, 2018.

House Midterm Ratings Updates, August 13

There were five updated seat ratings for House contests this week. Things still stand in a nationally Democratic environment, though Republicans hold a lead in eventual seat shares.

G. Elliott Morris

3 minute read

This Week in House Midterm Elections My house midterm election forecasts launched last week. It gives Democrats a 14% chance of winning the House majority, were it held today. Since it launched there have been 5 updates to individual seats (updates occur, among other things, when an incumbent decides against a re-election bid). Those now-open seats are: Todd Rokita (R, IN-04) R+31 Rep. Rokita announced Thursday that he is running to be a US Senator from Indiana.

Have Democrats Really Lunged Left? Maybe Not.

More Democrats identify as liberal than ever before, but key policy positions have changed little.

G. Elliott Morris

6 minute read

It is no secret that lawmakers in congress have become polarized in an asymmetric fashion, with Republican House members moving to the right far more than Democrats have moved left. However, it is entirely plausible that Democratic voters are more liberal than they used to be, even if lawmakers are not. To answer this riddle I consult the data. Is there a shift left among the party base itself, even if lawmakers have not moved?

Republican House Members Have Polarized More Than Their Democratic Counterparts

Using some cool new graphics software to look at how Congress has changed over time.

G. Elliott Morris

3 minute read

Image from: https://web.stanford.edu/~neilm/ When last we chatted, I talked of how congressional elections have shifted to reflect national politics more than local influences. Importantly, I noted that this may be less the result of ideological “polarization” — the process by which the beliefs of partisans move left/right — and more the result of partisan “sorting.” But polarization does exist, and it is real. This is especially true of elites in government: congresspeople in particular.

Congressional Elections are More Partisan, National than Ever Before

The old maxim "all politics is local" has been ousted. "All politics is national" is the new(-ish) hip phrase.

G. Elliott Morris

14 minute read

There are many hundreds of quotes by our nation’s founders noting the importance of representative government. For each one, there is also a quote about the dangers of improper government — my favorite is John Adams’ proclamation that “…division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader….is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.” John Adams — along with James Madison (early on), George Washington, and others — recognized the danger of organized groups competing for control of the National government.

Georgia 6 Could Come Down to All But A Coin Toss

Data points to a near-photo-finish for Jon Ossoff (D) and Karen Handel (R) in the Georgia 06 special election. They have almost equal odds of victory.

G. Elliott Morris

10 minute read

Note1 This article was written in conjunction with Ryan Matsumoto, a contributor at FiveThirtyEight, Developer Programs Engineer at Google and Stanford Alum. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmatsumoto1. Note2 A previous version of this article had Ossoff up 1.3% with 57% odds. Recent polling data had use revise those estimates to 0.6% and 53%, respectively. In the 2016 Iowa Democratic Primary Hillary Clinton won at least six precincts by way of a coin toss.

Democrats are Voting Much More than Last Time Around

But will these repeated Democratic waves turn into a Democratic tide?

G. Elliott Morris

4 minute read

You can’t win an election without turning out voters, and boy, are Democrats taking that to heart. Americans in special and primary elections all over the country are turning out for elections at rates unseen in the most recent midterm cycles. We already know that Democrats are overperforming expectations for electoral performance, but raw votes in recent elections offer us some more insight into just how energized their base is.

Montana Election Bolsters Predictions of a Large "Democratic Wave"

Democrats performed better than expected in Montana's special election Thursday, suggesting a large "Democratic wave" is coming.

G. Elliott Morris

4 minute read

On Wednesday, May 24th, the Republican candidate for Montana’s at-large congressional district essentially beat (body slammed) a reporter. Then, on Thursday, Greg Gianforte also beat his Democratic opponent Rob Quist in the race for the district’s House seat. Gianforte’s victory cut against some pundits’ expectations of a Democratic pickup — granted, he did break a reporter’s glasses while otherwise being a flawed candidate — and squashed hopes of Democrats being able to flip deep red House seats.