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Wake Up To Politics - November 5, 2018

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Monday, November 5, 2018. 1 day until Election Day 2018. 729 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.

Midterms Central

The midterm elections are tomorrow. After months of campaigning, the first national referendum on the Trump presidency will take place as millions of Americans cast ballots in races across the country. "A midterm election is like a pointillist painting, each individual race a dot that by Wednesday morning will add up to an image that will provide some answer to the question of the moment: the identity of America as it is today, its aspirations and values, the tone and tenor of the debate," the Washington Post's Dan Balz writes in his latest column, "This midterm election is like no other in a generation."

As Vanity Fair's Peter Hamby correctly pointed out, nobody really knows exactly what will happen Tuesday, especially in the shadow of President Trump's 2016 upset — but it's worth reviewing what the numbers tell us going into Election Day.

Democrats continue to lead in generic congressional ballot polling. Two of the most prominent U.S. polling partnerships, NBC News/Wall Street Journal and ABC News/Washington Post, released their final national polls before the midterms on Sunday. In the former, Democrats led the generic ballot by 6 points among registered voters (49% to 43%) and 7 points among likely voters (50% to 43%); in the latter, Democrats by 7 points among registered voters (50% to 43%) as well as likely voters (51% to 44%).

A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this morning also showed a Democratic advantage in the generic ballot among registered voters, but by a smaller margin: 43% to 40%. Finally, in a CNN poll released this morning, Democrats held a double-digit lead in the generic ballot: 55% to 42%. While Democrats have maintained their edge in the generic ballot across the board, most of those results represent a smaller Democratic margin than the same polling organizations showed last month.

Polls also show increased enthusiasm in both parties heading into the midterms. This is in line with early voting tallies that reflect a more energized electorate; according to the New York Times, 31.5 million Americans had already cast ballots in the midterms as of Saturday. 22 states and Washington, D.C., have already surpassed their early vote counts from the 2014 midterms.

Most experts forecast that Democrats will take over the House, while Republicans keep control of the Senate. Per the FiveThirtyEight model, Democrats have an 85.6% chance of winning the House — while Republicans have exactly the same chance of keeping the Senate. The CNN forecast predicts that Democrats will end up with a 226-209 majority in the House, while Republicans expand their Senate majority to 52-48, adding one seat. New Politico race ratings out this morning show 216 House seats in the Democratic column, 197 in the Republican column, and 22 toss-ups. A majority in the lower chamber is 218 seats.

Democrats are also expected to make gains at the State House-level, with governorships in Illinois, Michigan, and New Mexico poised to flip from red to blue, and others likely to follow. An NBC News/Marist poll out this morning showed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum leading Republican Ron DeSantis, 50% to 46%, in Florida. The same poll also included results from two key Senate races, showing Florida Democrat Bill Nelson leading Republican Rick Scott (also 50% to 46%) and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill holding off Republican Josh Hawley (50% to 47%).

But don't put too much stock in these results. If the polls were off by only 2-3 points, which would be in line with how accurate generic ballot polling has been historically, Republicans would be seen as more likely to keep control of the House, CNN's Harry Enten writes. "Democrats are still favored to win the House," he says. "But it's far from a sure thing." Democrats are confident about their chances of a House takeover, but many remain haunted by their severe losses sustained in 2016.

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White House schedule

POTUS: President Trump holds his final three rallies of the 2018 campaign today, making stops in Cleveland, Ohio (2:45pm), Fort Wayne, Indiana (6:05pm), and Cape Girardeau, Missouri (10pm). At the Missouri rally, he'll be joined by two conservative media personalities. "President Trump's unprecedented national midterm campaign tour will reach a patriotic crescendo in Cape Girardeau on Monday night," Trump campaign official Michael Glassner announced. "We're glad to welcome Cape Girardeau native Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity as special guests to this final stop on the tour where President Trump will make his case to the American people to support GOP candidates on Election Day in order to continue our great American comeback under his leadership."

The president isn't slated to return to the White House until 1:40am.

VP: Vice President Mike Pence campaigns for Republican candidates in Montana and South Dakota today, speaking at a Montana GOP Get Out The Vote Rally in Kalispell (2:05pm) and at a rally for South Dakota gubernatorial nominee Kristi Noem in Rapid City (6:20pm).

Congress schedule

Both houses of Congress are on recess.

*All times Eastern