According to the New York Times, the current tally for the U.S. House is 212 Democratic seats and 220 Republican seats,
with the U.S. Senate at 50 Democratic seats and 49 Republican seats. Three U.S. House seats remain.
Alaska will very likely go to the incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola who has 49% of the first choice vote in a ranked choice voting race with Republican Sarah Palin with 26% and Republican Nick Begich with 24%. Sarah Palin needs to win more than 95% of second choice Begich vote to win and that is unlikely to happen.
CO-3 was won by Republican Lauren Boebert by about 0.17 percentage points, the closest race in the county, and while it is going to an automatic recount, her margin is large enough that this is unlikely to change the result.
CA-13 is on track to be won by the Republican by about 0.45 percentage points.
So, the likely outcome for the House will be 222 R to 213 D, a loss of eight net Democratic seats.
Upon closer review, it looks like not a single House seat that touches the Pacific Ocean will be represented by a Republican in the House. Likewise, not a single Congressional District in New England will be represented by a Republican.
The Mexican border is touched by four Republican House seats and seven Democratic House seats.
The last U.S. Senate seat, in Georgia, was won in the first round by the incumbent Democrat who received 49.4% of the vote and will be resolved in a December 6, 2022 runoff election on Tuesday. If the Democrat loses, it will exactly match the status quo. If he wins, it will be a gain one of net Democratic seat in the Senate.
About 2.1% of voters in the first round in Georgia voted for the Libertarian candidate in the U.S. Senate race. If all of the same voters who voted in the first round in Georgia also voted in the second round, the Democrat would need only about a third of the Libertarian voters to chose him over the Republican to win, which is very likely. So, the Republicans need to reduce Democratic turnout and/or increase Republican turnout to win in the runoff election on Tuesday (and earlier due to early voting).
In a ranked choice voting system, the Democrat would probably have won the GA Senate race.
What if the national tilt had been ± 1 percentage point different?
One of the big insights of the political race models at the 538 blog is that federal partisan races and to a lesser extent all partisan races in the same election are highly correlated with each other. Myriad factors from Presidential popularity, to wars (see "Wag the Dog"), to supreme court decisions, to current events, to weather than impacts partisan outcomes differently, can all shift this national partisan tilt.
Democrats lost by less than a percentage point in three other House seats where Republican were favored (including one, CO-3 where the Republican was strongly favored. Democrats won only one seat where Democrats were favored (NY-18 where a Democrat was "narrowly favored") by less than a percentage point.
If Democrats had had a par for the course midterm outcome, with each party winning all of the seats where it was favored and splitting the 36 competitive seats evenly, Democrats would have lost eight more seats than they did.
But, with just a single percentage point shift to the left in the national outcome across the board (or in the key federal race), would have required just one in two hundred voters to flip their preferences, Democrats could have kept their majority in the House and increased their Senate margin to 52 seats which would have been enough to overcome the two Democratic votes unwilling to abolish the filibuster.
On the other hand, a single percentage point shift to the right in the national outcome across the board (or in just the key federal races), which again would have required just one in two hundred voters to flip their preferences, Republicans would have had 226 House seats instead of 222 (giving Republicans room for eight defectors instead of four to pass partisan bills), and would have controlled the Senate with 51 seats.
The 7 House seats that Democrats lost by less than one percentage point were (or will be): CO-3 (0.17), CA-13 (0.45), MI-10 (0.49), IA-3 (0.69), NY-17 (0.82), AZ-1 (0.88), and NY-22 (0.98). If they had won all of those seats, the balance in Congress would have been 220 D - 215 R (a loss of just one net D seats).
Democrats lost one U.S. Senate race, WI (0.99), by less than one percentage point, and would have won Georgia's Senate race without a runoff if there had been a one percentage point shift in their favor, resulting in a Senate balance of 52 D- 48 R (plus the Vice President's Democratic tie vote).
The 4 House seats that Democrats won by less than one percentage point were: CO-8 (0.69), CT-5 (0.77), WA-3 (0.89), NY-18 (0.99). If Republicans had won all of those seats, the balance in Congress would have been 226 R - 209 D (a loss of 12 net D seats).
Democrats won one U.S. Senate race, NV (0.78) by less than one percentage point, but shift of one percentage point towards the Republicans would still have required a runoff election for the Republican in Georgia, although his odds in a runoff election would be much better if he had won it. Assuming for sake of argument that the Republicans won the GA runoff election, the Senate balance would be 49 D - 51 R.
Outcomes Compared To Expectations
Overall, and in most districts, Republicans did better than Trump did in 2020.
The Senate races were a mixed bag compared to the 2020 Presidential results. Democratic Senate candidates did better than Biden did in five competitive U.S. Senate races and worse in three. Seven of those shifts weren't outcome determinative with a Democrat winning in a U.S. Senate race in five states that Biden won in 2020 and a Republican winning in a U.S. Senate race in two states that Biden won in 2020. But, incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson in Wisconsin did 1.6 percentage points there to win a state that Biden had won by 0.6 percentage points in 2020.
Simply adding up Republican and Democrats votes for Congressional races would be a less reliable way to indicate the shift in partisan voting in 2022, because turnout is suppressed in the many districts (and Senate seats) that were very lopsided, and because sixteen House races were uncontested: three Democratic party held seats (IL-7, MA-4, and NY-13) and thirteen Republican Party held seats (AZ-8, AZ-9, FL-5, LA-4, PA-13, PA-14, SC-3. SC-4, TX-6, TX-11, TX-25, TX-31, and WI-6).
Still, the Democrats did remarkably well compared to expectations going into the election. Democrats won one House seat where a Republican was narrowly favored (WA-3), and won every House seat where a Democrat was favored. Democrats won 25 competitive House seats and lost 11 competitive House seats.
In the U.S. Senate races, all of the races turned out as expected, subject to the GA Senate runoff on Tuesday which Democrats were expected (and still are expected) to narrowly win.
Do Americans Want Gridlock Or Federalism?
The closeness of the ultimate partisan outcomes at the federal level really couldn't be any closer, and the result is gridlock at the federal level. Arguably, that is the right result when a country is so closely divided.
On the other hand, at the state level, partisan gridlock has declined. Democrats made gains in Governor's races, sometimes in open seats, and held onto closely contested races in red leaning states.
Both halves of the legislature flipped from red to blue in Michigan, albeit narrowly, for the first time in decades. Democrats won a trifecta in Minnesota; held both chambers in Colorado, Maine, Nevada and Oregon; staved off Republican supermajorities in the North Carolina House and Wisconsin State Assembly; and clawed back seats in the New Hampshire State House. . . .
Republicans have made modest gains, however. They flipped the Virginia House of Delegates last year, though not the State Senate, while gaining seats in New Jersey. They may have broken the Democrats’ supermajorities in New York, while picking up seats in the Illinois Senate, New Mexico House and a host of red states. They took supermajorities in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, the Iowa Senate, the North Carolina Senate, the South Carolina House and the Wisconsin Senate. In races for governor, they notched commanding wins in Florida, Ohio and Texas, and gave Democrats a scare in Kansas and Oregon. . . .
But in 2022, not a single state legislative chamber flipped from blue to red. A party in power hasn’t achieved that result in a midterm election year since at least 1934, according to Post.
In 40 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, one of the two major political parties can pass ordinary legislation without any support from the other political party because that party controls the Governorship and either both houses of the state legislature in bicameral states, or the only legislative body in Nebraska and the District of Columbia. A few states even have partisan state legislative supermajorities in trifecta states.
Only ten U.S. states have the pattern of divided government that the United States federal government does.
As I noted previously:
Heading into the 2022 election, there were 23 Republican trifectas, 14 Democratic trifectas, and 13 states with divided governments where neither party held trifecta control. As of November 16, there were projected to be 22 Republican trifectas, 17 Democratic trifectas, and 10 divided governments where neither party had trifecta control.
[Nebraska has a unicameral nominally non-partisan state legislature that is controlled by Republicans and has a Republican Governor, which is equivalent to the trifecta but not included in the count above.]
There was one state (Alaska) where trifecta status remained unclear. Before the election, Alaska was under divided government. Trifecta status changed in six states. In Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota, divided governments became Democratic trifectas. In Nevada, the Democratic trifecta became a divided government. In Arizona, the Republican trifecta became a divided government. State government trifectas. (The map below is pre-2020.)
The "divided" states are now (or could be when the final results are in): Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Kansas, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
There are divided state legislatures in Alaska and Virginia.
But, in Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin, where the divided government comes solely from a Governor. In Vermont, Democrats control the state legislature and there is a Republican Governor. In the other seven states with undivided legislatures that are not trifecta states, Republicans control the state legislature and there is a Democratic Governor.
One could call the midterm election results a pro-federalism outcome: strengthening the ability of many state governments to pass sweeping partisan legislation, while restraining the power of the federal government to pass partisan legislative reforms even further.
All of the "trifecta" states except New Hampshire and Georgia voted for President in 2020 according to their trifecta partisan lean. Of the current ten "divided" states, Arizona, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania voted for Biden, while Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina voted for Trump. Maine and Nebraska each cast one electoral vote contrary to the rest of the state (balancing out). The 2020 Presidential election map, for comparison purposes, was as follows:
Following the 2020 election, there were fewer states with partisan splits in their U.S. Senate delegations than at any time since direct elections of Senators began, and by flipping the Republican U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania to the Democrats, this record will be pushed one state further from six to five if Democrats can hold onto the Georgia Senate seat in the December 6 runoff election.
Democrats currently have five U.S. Senate seats in Republican trifecta states: one each in Montana, Ohio and West Virginia (each of which voted for Trump in 2020) and two U.S. Senate seats in New Hampshire and Georgia, respectively (both of which voted for Biden in 2020).
Republicans have one U.S. Senate seat in a Democratic trifecta seat: Maine, which voted for Biden in 2020. It is held by Republican Susan Collins, one of the moderate Republicans in the Senate, who is the only Republican in the U.S. House or the U.S. Senate from New England. Maine's other U.S. Senator, Angus King, is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
Democrats have two U.S. Senate seats each in the divided states of Arizona, Vermont, Virginia, and Pennsylvania (each of which also voted for Biden in 2020). Arizona, Virginia and Pennsylvania have Democratic Governors, Vermont has a Republican Governor, and Virginia has a Republican Governor and a divided legislature.
A Democrat and a Republican split the U.S. Senate seats in divided Wisconsin which voted for Biden in 2020 and has a Republican controlled state legislature and a Democratic Governor.
Republicans have two U.S. Senate seats each in the divided states of Alaska (which voted for Trump in 2020, has a Democrat as its sole member of the U.S. House, has a divided state legislature by one vote in the state house, and has a Republican Governor), and in Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina (each of which also voted for Trump in 2020 and have Republican controlled state legislatures but a Democratic Governor).
One can get pretty close to the concept of a "clearly red" or "clearly blue" state by concluding that if one party won both houses of the state legislature, voted for that party's Presidential candidate, and has two of the three people serving as its Governor and two U.S. Senators of the same party, it is still "clearly" aligned with that party, even though there is one outlier Governor or one outlier U.S. Senator.
But, a state is "purple" if this does not hold.
By that measure, the seven purple states are Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Two clearly blue states and seven red states have one outlier statewide elected Governor and U.S. Senator.
Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia are completely solidly either red or blue states.
Maine is a clearly blue state with an outlier Republican Senator. Vermont is a clearly blue state with an outlier Republican Governor.
Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia are clearly red states with an outlier Democratic Senator. Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina are clearly red states with an outlier Democratic Governor.