Balance of Power: The House Seats Up for Grabs

Last Updated Nov. 9, 2022

Midterm election results are still rolling in. As we stand now, 393 of 435 races have been called. Republicans are projected to take control of the House. Currently, the GOP has 208 seats and Democrats have 185. 218 are needed for a majority win.  

We’ll continue to update this page and our accompanying Balance of Power in the Senate page with new insights and analysis as midterm results are reported.  

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What is the balance of power in the House?

Democrats control the House with 220 seats, whereas Republicans have 212. There are currently three vacancies.

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How many House seats are up for election in 2022?

All 435 House seats are up for election. The Cook political Report rates 33 races as toss-ups – 23 of which are currently held by Democrats and 10 by Republicans.

A shift of only five seats would transfer control of the chamber to Republicans.

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What is the outlook for the 2022 midterm elections?

Midterm elections tend to hurt the president’s party. In 18 of the last 20 elections, the president’s party lost ground in the House.

Redistricting will play a significant role in the 2022 House elections: new lines have altered the competitiveness of numerous districts, and some incumbents are running for re-election in new territory.

Both parties have used their respective power in the states to draw district lines and have filed lawsuits to challenge maps they weren’t in charge of creating. Republicans controlled line-drawing in far more districts than Democrats and should gain several seats in the 2022 midterms from redistricting alone.

President Biden’s low approval rating and inflation are likely to be anchors on Democratic incumbents. The Biden administration’s politics, policies, and polling will shape the national atmosphere, as midterms are generally viewed as a referendum on the president.

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What are the races to watch in the 2022 House elections?

Lean Democratic
12 Dem – 2 Rep – 0 Ind
Democrat Toss Up
23 Dem – 0 Rep – 0 Ind
Republican Toss Up
0 Dem – 10 Rep – 0 Ind
Lean Republican
4 Dem – 8 Rep – 0 Ind
AK-AL Peltola CA-03 Open AZ-01 Schweikert AZ-02 O’Halleran
CA-47 Porter CA-49 Levin  CA-22 Valadao AZ-06 Open
IL-13 Open CT-05 Hayes CA-27 Garcia CA-41 Calvert
KS-03 Davids IL-17 Open CO-08 New Seat CA-45 Steel
MI-03 Open IN-01 Mrvan NC-13 Open FL-27 Salazar
MI-08 Kildee ME-02 Golden NE-02 Bacon  IA-01 Miller-Meeks
NH-02 Kuster MI-07 Slotkin NM-02 Herrell IA-02 Hinson
NV-04 Horsford MN-02 Craig NY-22 Open IA-03 Axne
NY-03 Open NH-01 Pappas OH-01 Chabot  MT-01 New Seat
NY-04 Open NV-01 Titus TX-34 Merged Seat NJ-07 Malinowski
NY-18 Ryan NV-03 Lee NY-01 Open
OH-09 Kaptur NY-17 Maloney WA-03 Open
OR-04 Open NY-19 Open
TX-28 Cuellar OH-13 Open
OR-05 Open
OR-06 New Seat
PA-07 Wild
PA-08 Cartwright
PA-17 Open
RI-02 Open 
VA-02 Luria
VA-07 Spanberger
WA-09 Schrier
*Italicized name denotes freshman member
Source: Cook Political Report with Amy Walter

What are the major factors impacting the 2022 midterm House races?

1. Fundraising in the final months

The latest fundraising numbers show the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has a narrow $2.5 million advantage over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Going into the final weeks before Election Day, the NRCC has about $113.2 million, in contrast to the DCCC’s $110.7 million. This discrepancy is unusual compared to the past cycles.

In 2020, Democrats had a vast spending advantage over Republicans in the final stretch of the elections. Although Democrats spent more in the closing months of 2018’s midterm cycle, Republicans were still able to gain control of the House.

Recently, Democrats increased their ad buys and are outspending Republicans by about half a million dollars in 13 of the 31 closest House races. However, Republicans maintain an overall funding advantage in 14 of those 31 races, with the four remaining bookings tied between the two parties.

2. Historically low voter turnout for midterm elections

Voter turnout is typically much lower in non-presidential elections. Since the 1980s, midterm voter turnout has hovered around 40%, whereas presidential cycles have reached over 60%. However, turnout during the Trump administration was high, particularly in the 2018 midterm election, which gave Nancy Pelosi her second stint as Speaker of the House. If this precedent remains, we could see higher numbers of people turning up to the booths this year.

3. Messaging around key policy issues

As with Senate races, messaging around policy issues could influence the midterm’s results. As the pandemic fades, inflation has risen to around 8.3% since last year. Earlier in the election, Republicans took this as an opportunity to question President Biden’s energy policies and government spending, particularly the $1.9 trillion 2021 American Rescue Plan and 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

As inflation continues to cool, Republicans have shifted focus on violent crime rates and less on the economy. This has tied Democrats to the “Defund the Police” movement, which helped Republicans win seats in 2020.

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this year, Democrats have used abortion rights to win special elections in places like New York’s Hudson Valley, in addition to flipping Alaska’s lone House seat. We could see a surge of voter turnout, especially among abortion rights supporters, which could make the difference in a few key races.

Who is projected to take control of the House in 2022?

Republicans are favored to win the House

After the Dobbs decision this summer, Democrats banked on voters supporting abortion rights in order to maintain control of the House. However, with just a few weeks until midterm elections, Republicans are projected to make a net gain of five seats, bringing them into the House majority.

This projection is based on a variety of metrics, including generic ballot testing that favors a Republican-led Congress as well as President Biden’s low approval rating, which hovers around 40%. Super PACS and political party groups are spending money almost exclusively in districts that President Biden won in 2020, indicating that Democrats are in a defensive crouch.

Current polling is aligned with typical midterm trends

Midterm elections often benefit the opposition political party at the expense of the White House’s party. 1994 and 2010 were typical midterm elections, where Republicans made gains in the House at the midpoint of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s first terms. Similarly, in 2018, Republican’s got crushed in House elections but picked up two seats in the Senate.

If a president’s approval ratings are high, then the presiding party typically fares better in midterm House elections. For example, in 1998, Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 66%, and Democrats retained control of the House. In 2002, George W. Bush polled at a 63%, and Republicans made gains. Currently, Biden’s approval rating is 42%, which is similar to former president Barack Obama’s rating in 2010. That year, Democrats lost control of the House, which could be a bellwether to this year’s House midterms.

Redistricting could affect midterm outcomes

After each census, congressional district lines are redrawn. This Nov. 8 election will be first general election since the redistricting process concluded. In the 2020 presidential election, President Biden won 224 districts, and Donald Trump won 211. Under new districting, Biden won 226 districts, and Trump won 209. Voters typically engage in “straight ticket” voting, meaning that they vote the same way for the House and Senate as they do for presidential elections.

However, when breaking down the 2020 election results further, the number of districts that Trump won by more than 15 points goes from 132 under old maps to 143 under new maps. Under new district lines, there are only 33 districts that either Trump or Biden won by fewer than five percentage points. In this year’s House race, 33 districts are rated as toss ups, making this a close midterm election to watch.

To keep up with the latest midterms news and updates, visit Bloomberg Government’s elections resources and look out for upcoming events featuring our expert news team.

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