Politics & Polls #15: Down Ticket: House & Senate Races

Oct 13 2016
By Julian Zelizer & Sam Wang (Produced by B. Rose Kelly and Bonelys Rosado)
Source Woodrow Wilson School

While it may be hard to look away from the steel cage match between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s time to start looking "down ticket,” as congressional races could be one of the biggest stories in the 2016 election.

What happens in the House and Senate races will ultimately shape and influence the next presidency. And many questions remain: What will the Trump effect be on congressional races? What impact will this have in the Senate? Is there any possibility that the House, currently with a large Republican majority, could swing to the Democrats? And will the Freedom Caucus expand or contract in size, and what challenges will this pose House Speaker Paul Ryan?

These questions and more are answered in episode 15 of Politics & Polls with special guest David Wasserman, house editor of The Cook Political Report.

A political analyst, Wasserman is responsible for handicapping and analyzing U.S. House Races for The Cook Political Report, a widely regarded nonpartisan, independent newsletter. Wasserman has served as an analyst for the NBC News Election Night Decision Desk in 2014, 2012, 2010 and 2008, and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News, C-SPAN Washington Journal, CNN and NPR.


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 
Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society." Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published more than 600 hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.com

Wang is professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton University. He is known for his books "Welcome to Your Brain" and "Welcome to Your Child's Brain" and for his founding role at the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog providing U.S. election analyses. In 2004, Wang was one of the first to aggregate U.S. presidential polls using probabilistic methods. In 2012, his statistical analysis correctly predicted the presidential vote outcome in 49 of 50 states. He has also developed new statistical standards for partisan gerrymandering. A neuroscientist, Wang's academic research focuses on the neuroscience of learning, the cerebellum and autism.