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Optimizing Your Efforts in 2018: Part I, the House

July 14th, 2018, 10:48am by Sam Wang


The odds moderately favor a switch in control of the House of Representatives in 2018. But make no mistake, things could go either way. This November will be a battle of inches.

For many of you, the battle’s coming to a district near you. We’re renewing a tool that made its debut two years ago. Sharon Machlis has very kindly updated her Congressional District finder to display swing districts for 2018. It’s awesome – check it out!

Many of the closest races will be run in the suburbs of America. Here are some high-value areas:

  • Six swing districts are within 100 miles of New York City.
  • Five are within 50 miles of Los Angeles.
  • Five are within 50 miles of Chicago.

Note that this tool is useful no matter which major party you favor. The same districts are targets for flipping – and prizes worth defending. So if you have any interest at all in the direction of this country, this resource is for you.

By campaigning or donating in close races, you can have many times the impact that you would by voting alone. Anyone in the United States can get involved – not just citizens, but also foreign nationals (see the Federal Election Commission website).

Soon we will merge this functionality with information about statewide races: Senate, governor, and initiatives. That’s part of a site upgrade that is in the works. Soon, my droogies, soon…

Tags: 2018 Election · House

7 Comments so far ↓

  • Jim

    I know it’s not final, but some of the links in the map need a little work. For instance, the Wikipedia and Ballotpedia links for PA-17 take you to the articles for PA-06.

  • ArcticStones

    I would love to see Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. However, I believe it is far more crucial to retake the Senate – although I fully realize the odds are against that.

    Retaking the Senate is imperative if Democrats are to block the heinous right-wing makeover of America’s courts currently being carried out by Trump, McConnell and the Federalist Society.

    It behooves us to remember: the Constitution and the laws mean only what the courts say it does!

    • LondonYoung

      Well, to turn this to gerrymandering:
      Representation in the Senate was not engineered with any partisan intent. However, there is a correlation between PVI and population which (as of 2018) gives the GOP an advantage in the senate relative to the proportion of votes they win.
      Is the scheme bad because it defies “one man one vote”, or is it good because it helps geographic cohesion?
      I think the question is directly relevant to what sort of house districting schemes should be thought of a gerrymanders.

    • Isaac Shapiro

      Sam or anyone else,

      While there is lots of information on different sites about swing House districts, what would be ideal is some type of list that would prioritize where one should contribute. Where would the marginal contribution dollar make the most difference? I know given absence of polling at the House level, such a list would be rough at best. Still, many of us who are focused on contributing funds to flip the House are struggling with making the most effective decisions, so even a rough list (though more nuanced than say the Cook categories) would be helpful. Any thoughts? Thank you.

  • Jonathan Raper

    i am a fan- BUT- i find your site a little bewildering right now. it would be more useful if you removed all the stuff from the election 2 years ago so that i could tell the difference between what is current and what is not. time for all the superannuated stuff to go into the archives. i would like to pick specific house and senate races to contribute to before the midterms, and your site is almost as confusing as it is helpful.

  • AP

    I support Isaac’s point above: why not a Senate-like impact analysis? Why not an act blue page for the house? Lack of data? Too many races?

    • Sam Wang

      1) Too many races: 80 of them instead of 8.
      2) I actually think P(House) is now around 0.9, pretty strongly for Democrats.
      Taken together, these two reasons dilute the impact of your donation by a factor of about 100. Instead, get out the vote locally, give money nationally.

      I guess I could include the DCCC in that list – that would be an approximately-appropriate weighting.

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