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Sabato makes final calls for control of US House, Senate, gubernatorial races


With a day to go before the midterm election, political scientist and analyst Larry Sabato has made his final prediction for which party will win in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and gubernatorial races. 

Sabato’s analysis, "Final Ratings for the 2022 Election, was published Monday in his newsletter, "Sabato’s Crystal Ball." 

FILE: A voter casts their ballot at a secure ballot drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Nov. 1, 2022.

FILE: A voter casts their ballot at a secure ballot drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, Nov. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

In short, Sabato predicts that Republicans will win the Senate, 51-49, with a net gain of one seat. His final House pick is for Republicans, 237-198, netting a gain of 24 seats. In the gubernatorial race, Sabato predicts that Republicans will win 29-21, gaining one governorship. 

Republicans, Sabato notes, have honed their key message of fixing the economy and tackling inflation as the president’s approval rating has plummeted to the low 40s. 

Democrats may have an opportunity to mitigate some of their losses, he says, with GOP candidate problems in certain Senate, gubernatorial, and House races, as well as the unpopular Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the lingering influence of former President Donald Trump. 

Such factors, he argues, will make it a "good but not necessarily great night" for Republicans. The conditions ultimately make this midterm election a fairly ordinary one where the president’s party suffers losses. Only twice in recent decades – in 1998 and 2002 – has the president’s party done well. 

A voting sign is seen before a Democratic Senate Candidate Raphael Warnock (D-GA) Get Out the Vote rally at Bearfoot Tavern on November 07, 2022, in Macon, Georgia. 

A voting sign is seen before a Democratic Senate Candidate Raphael Warnock (D-GA) Get Out the Vote rally at Bearfoot Tavern on November 07, 2022, in Macon, Georgia.  (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Sabato is careful to qualify that some races, particularly in the Senate, remain toss-ups. Senate races in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, he says, "can all accurately be described as jump balls." 

He notes that the Senate race will likely not be decided Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Arizona, for instance, usually takes a few days to finish its count. Georgia, between GOP candidate Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, has the possibility for a runoff. 

Sabato also predicted that "heavily Democratic" absentee ballots will take longer to count in Pennsylvania, contributing to a "red mirage" making GOP candidate Mehmet Oz’s margin look large early on. 

Even if things run smoothly, it may take days or weeks before the outcome is known in several key races. In ways big and small, the 2022 midterms will help shape the 2024 election.

A bad night for Democrats could undermine Biden's rationale for a second term. And Trump would almost certainly seize on sweeping Republican victories as evidence of his political strength ahead of a third prospective White House bid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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