While the Republicans are large favorites to retain control of the Senate in the 2018 midterms in November, the Democrats are the favorites in several betting markets to win back the House.
This obviously has large implications on the overall political climate, as the House has sole power to initiate articles of impeachment against the president (although the Senate would conduct a trial and potential removal from office), and it also shares duties with the Senate in writing new laws.
All 435 House seats are up for grabs, so you might be wondering how there could be no majority with an odd number. That could happen if a candidate not affiliated with either party won a seat — Joe Crowley, for example, who lost the Democratic primary in NY-14 to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last month, is now on the ballot under the “Working Families” party. Regardless, none of the three markets suggest there’s a very high chance of no majority being established: It’s not even an option to bet on PredictIt, and Smarkets has it at only 0.7% implied odds.
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Overall, Bovada and Smarkets are fairly in line in terms of the Democrats’ odds of regaining House control, while PredictIt is much higher at 67% implied probability. Interestingly, PredictIt also allows speculators to wager on how many seats the Democrats will have after the midterms:
To gain the majority, Democrats need to win 218 seats or more. This is particularly interesting, especially compared to the seat-by-seat odds on the Senate race I wrote about Monday. The PredictIt market suggests there’s a 19% chance of the Democrats sneaking out a narrow win, but the odds of a landslide — 251 or more seats — are at 9%, which is higher than winning between 241 and 250. There’s a 5% chance of the GOP winning in a landslide in the Senate — 60 or more seats — per the article Monday, despite Republicans actually being a larger favorite overall to win the majority.
It will be very interesting to monitor these markets over the next couple of months and see whether they shift in a dramatic way, especially as the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller continues to pick up steam. Stay tuned!