Amid the nationwide political craze, about 30 or so Regent students joined professors Dr. Dan Koev, Dr. Nicholas Higgins, and Dr. A.J. Nolte to watch the midterm elections.
Discussing the polls’ predictions
Some attendees were government major and political enthusiasts, while others were there for the extra credit. Everyone eagerly awaited the results of the House of Representatives, Senate, and gubernatorial elections.
At the beginning of the watch event, the three professors gave short presentations regarding polls, voter turnout, and the election’s many possible outcomes. Koev discussed polls, as he teaches a course which explains how polls and statistics work.
Polls are helpful if people understand that they are probabilistic and not deterministic, according to Koev.
While the polls predicted the Democrats taking control of the House and the Republicans gaining seats in the Senate, polls are not completely accurate, as seen in the 2016 presidential election, which made for a fun evening to watch the unpredictable election.
Polls account for variables like incumbency, open seats, scandals, and traditional voting in a geographic region, according to Higgins. He added that the polls are national and do not look at each district individually.
The president’s party losing seats
In the past 100 years, besides two special occasions, one being in 2002 after September 11, the party that gained the presidency and also holds Congress typically loses seats in the midterm election.
Higgins explained that people vote retrospectively, meaning that they don’t look ahead to what could happen in Congress if candidates are elected but instead look to the past to see what has happened.
He also talked about how absentee ballots work, and that while they are generally not counted until the day after the elections, their amount is already known; hence their impact on the result, which is usually small, is accounted for.
Nolte analyzed specific elections and speculated as to what the outcome of the midterms could be. One of the possibilities he mentioned was that if the Democrats take the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) may not be chosen to become the speaker again because of all the new Democrats who have run against her in their campaigns.
Democrats take the house, Republicans take the senate
Nolte predicted that Democrats would pick up a lot of gubernatorial wins as well.
Throughout the night, there were Republicans flipping Democrat Senate seats and Democrats flipping Republican House seats. The gubernatorial races were also very close, especially in states like Florida and Wisconsin.
Around 10:30 p.m., it was announced that Republicans would hold the Senate. By 11:00 p.m., CNN stated that Democrats would take over the House.
At 2:30 a.m., there were still House, Senate, and gubernatorial races yet to be called as they were either too close or not enough votes had been counted.
Fox News reported that Republicans had won 25 gubernatorial elections and Democrats won 20, with five states still not called. Democrats won 44 Senate seats and Republicans with 52; lastly, Republicans won 192 House seats and Democrats had 215, just three shy of gaining control of the lower chamber.
Natalia Mittelstadt is a staff writer for the Daily Runner.