What you need to know before the midterm election

Daily News Article - October 31, 2018


1. Most experts estimate the Democrats will win control of the U.S. House. How many seats does the party need to win to take control of the House?

2. What do the LA Times reporters predict about the outcome of the Senate race?

3. How do the reporters explain the fact that the polls got it wrong in 2016? (News outlets across the board predicted a win for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and many were shocked and upset when she lost.)

4. President Trump is very unpopular with the media, many professional athletes, musicians and almost all celebrities (except for Kanye). There have been numerous instances of individuals wearing MAGA hats being criticized, yelled at, or having the hat knocked off the person’s head or stolen. Trump supporters are called racists, bigots, homophobes, misogynists…

Do you think a voter answering poll questions, knowing how unpopular it is to support Trump, might not tell a pollster that they will or did vote for him, thus possibly skewing the polls? Explain your answer.

5. a) Top issues important to voters in the 2018 midterms include: health care, the economy, taxes, illegal immigration and the migrant caravan, a border wall, the treatment of Judge Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings…

Which issue do you think will most likely bring voters to the polls on election day in your state? Explain your answer.

b) Another factor for voting is that the outcome of the elections could tip the balance of power in Congress, possibly giving President Trump the votes he need to pass legislation that supports his agenda, or giving Democrats the power they need to block President Trump from moving his agenda forward. How important do you think that will be in determining the number of people who vote? Ask a parent the same question.

6. Whether you are eligible to vote yet or not, check out your state’s ballot ahead of time. In addition to candidates, what questions are on your state’s ballot this year? How would you vote for each?

Read the “Background” below the questions. Two interesting facts on voter turnout:
#1 - Midterm elections always generate lower voter turnout than presidential elections. While the latter have had turnouts of about 50–60% over the past 60 years, only about 40 percent of those eligible to vote actually go to the polls in midterm elections.
#2 - Midterm elections usually see the president's party lose seats in Congress, and also frequently see the president's intraparty opponents gain power.

Following the election next week, find the answers to the following:
a) Did these 2 facts hold true in the midterms following Donald Trump’s election?
b) What was overall voter turnout?
c) What was voter turnout in your state?
d) How many seats did each party win/lose in the House - and in the Senate?