2022 Midterm Election Odds: Will Democrats Or Republicans Control The House?

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on November 21, 2021

With the process by which states are passing their new Congressional maps chugging along these days, the contours of the House of Representatives map next year is coming into view – and therefore, we can start to figure out how likely some outcomes are in 2022 midterm House odds.

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House Of Representatives Control

PartyNov. 21, 2021 PriceEquivalent Odds
Republicans$0.82-456
Democrats$0.18+456

The GOP need to make five net gains to flip the House, based on the 2020 results, but the new elections will be fought on entirely different maps than the ones 2020 were fought on, as the lines are redrawn after the decennial Census.

It was broadly expected at the beginning of the process that the GOP would have a notional majority in the chamber solely because of the map, but the GOP has been less aggressive in how they’ve drawn some state maps, and Democrats have been so far more aggressive than the conventional wisdom dictates.

Given the likelihood that New York is gearing up to pass an aggressive pro-Democratic gerrymander, the Democrats can be functionally assured to have a majority on the new maps based on 2020’s results, meaning that the GOP will have to do better in 2022 than they did in 2020 to win the House.

Now, given that Joe Biden’s approval is stuck in neutral, and stuck at a very bad level, the GOP is likely to do substantially better than they did last time, and that should be enough to win the House – although an 82-cent price is a bit steep for an event that is more than 11 months in the future, and that isn’t a lock.

To be clear, the GOP would win the House if the elections were held today, even if Democrats got their most favorable maps across every state that hasn’t passed their maps yet. But with the uncertainties – namely, the shape of the California maps, and whether or not Biden will get his act together enough to radically boost his approvals – that 82-cent price is a tad high.

The reason the GOP is likely to win is simple – they’re likely to win all of the seats they won in 2020 that voted for them and voted for Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, while also making gains in areas that voted narrowly for Biden.

The kinds of places that narrowly voted for Biden in Virginia and New Jersey are dotted over the country, and if Biden can not boost his approvals, there will be enough Biden 2020-House GOP 2022 voters to turn favorable Democratic turf in good years for them into GOP seats.

The other thing worth noting is that the GOP is likely to win the majority, but they’re not likely to win overwhelmingly. This is one situation where the band of outcomes is more likely to be narrow, given Democrats gerrymandering Illinois and New York, and the fact that the California Commission’s early work suggests they’re going to pass a good map for Democrats.

This matters, because the chances Democrats can have a “good” night – say, staying above 210 seats in the House – and the chances they can keep the House aren’t very correlated. Both parties have locked in a very high floor, and so it will look like Democrats are closer to winning the House than they really are. The GOP is highly likely to win in 2022 midterm House odds, but it won’t be an overwhelming win.

Balance Of Power

OutcomeNov. 21, 2021 PriceEquivalent Odds
R House, R Senate$0.68-213
R House, D Senate$0.22+355
D House, D Senate$0.13+669
D House, R Senate$0.04+2400

Combined with the Senate, there is some value in the four possible outcomes for Congressional control after 2022.

If you think Democrats win the House, the 13-cent price for unified Democratic control – a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate – is much better than betting Democrats to win the House outright, as there is no chance Democrats will win the House and lose the Senate.

If Democrats recover their position enough to win the House, they will not only win the Senate but do so with more seats than they did last time – easily gaining Pennsylvania, and potentially winning Wisconsin and North Carolina.

The other option with value is the Republican House, Democratic Senate scenario, which is currently my view on what will happen.

The GOP are in a weak spot as it relates to Senate recruitment these days, which makes this market undervalued for what is probably the likeliest outcome. If Democrats lose 10-15 House seats, they probably will be able to hold their four competitive Senate seats, and that’s the most likely range of House losses, as of now.

Next Speaker Of The House

RepresentativeNov. 21, 2021 PriceEquivalent Odds
Kevin McCarthy$0.71-245
Hakeem Jeffries$0.10+900
Donald Trump$0.04+2400
Steve Scalise$0.04+2400
Nancy Pelosi$0.04+2400
Jim Jordan$0.04+2400

All other candidates priced at $0.01 or $0.02

This one seems like it should be fairly straightforward, but it’s not. Kevin McCarthy is the GOP House Leader, and if the GOP wins the House, he would become Speaker, right? Not so fast.

McCarthy is an unpopular leader with no ability to public speak in coherent ways, and has long been viewed with skepticism by those on the right. There’s a reason he wasn’t made Speaker in 2015, and Paul Ryan had to be convinced to run himself from outside of the leadership.

Steve Scalise wants the job, and as the No. 2 House Republican, he is likely to put up a fight for it if the GOP returns to the majority next year. Scalise didn’t challenge for the job after 2018’s losses because being Minority Leader is a thankless job, and then after 2020 went much better for the GOP than expected, a challenge was off the table.

Scalise is not favored to win the Speakership next time, but McCarthy has a lot of vulnerabilities, and Scalise has managed his relationships within the GOP well. Whether he formally launches a challenge or not, he will be counting his votes, and if McCarthy is seen to not have won by enough, he will be very vulnerable.

Given the broad expectation that the GOP will win the House next year, a narrow flip of the House will not be seen as a success for McCarthy, but a failure that it wasn’t a bigger, 2010-style landslide. Throw in the doubts that McCarthy would actually be able to manage the Speakership, and Scalise has a very clear lane, and at a very attractive price for Speaker in 2022 midterm House odds.

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