Voters cast ballots in droves for the 2018 midterms. In highly contentious races that brought out both sides of the aisles, voter turnout was at its highest in 50 years. Democrats outvoted Republicans by more than 4 million. High turnout was anticipated, and Democrat gains in the House - expected to be 35 seats - are on par with projections, as well. The Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate.

Votes cast in 2018 far surpass

2014 midterms

Number of Democratic and Republican votes in races. Midterms only include numbers from House races.

0

30

60M votes

35.4M

2014

39.8M

Midterm

years

51.7M

2018

47.4M

65.7M

2012

60.9M

Presidential

years

65.6M

2016

63M

Votes cast in 2018 far surpass 2014 midterms

Number of Democratic and Republican votes in races. Midterms only include numbers from House races.

0

20

40

60 million votes

35.4M

2014

39.8M

Midterm

years

51.7M

2018

47.4M

65.7M

2012

60.9M

Presidential

years

65.6M

2016

63M

Votes cast in 2018 far surpass 2014 midterms

Number of Democratic and Republican votes in races. Midterms only include numbers from House races.

0

20

40

60 million votes

35.4M

2014

39.8M

Midterm

years

51.7M

2018

47.4M

65.7M

2012

60.9M

Presidential

years

65.6M

2016

63M

Democratic votes were high, even compared with the 2016 presidential election. Midterm elections typically have lower overall turnout than presidential elections. However, when comparing votes in this year’s House races with votes in the previous presidential election, 13 states had Democratic vote counts that surpassed those in 2016.

Democratic votes top 2016

presidential in 13 states

2018 Democratic and Republican House

votes compared to 2016 presidential votes

Equal to

2016 votes

-25%

+25%

Mont.

N.D.

W. Va.

Hawaii

Idaho

Wyo.

Vt.

Kan.

Minn.

N.M.

S.D

Okla.

Iowa

Texas

Ky.

Tenn.

Del.

Mich.

R.I.

Mo.

Ore.

Conn.

Alaska

Nev.

Maine

N.H.

Ind.

S.C.

Utah

Ohio

Colo.

Ark.

Md.

Ill.

Miss.

N.J.

Ariz.

La.

Democratic votes top 2016

presidential in 13 states

Democratic votes top 2016 presidential in 13 states

2018 Democratic and Republican House

votes compared to 2016 presidential votes

2018 Democratic and Republican House votes compared to 2016 presidential votes

Equal to

2016 votes

-25%

+25%

Mont.

N.D.

W. Va.

Hawaii

Idaho

Wyo.

Vt.

Kan.

Minn.

N.M.

S.D

Okla.

Iowa

Texas

Ky.

Tenn.

Del.

Mich.

R.I.

Mo.

Ore.

Conn.

Alaska

Nev.

Maine

N.H.

Ind.

S.C.

Utah

Ohio

Colo.

Ark.

Md.

Ill.

Miss.

N.J.

Ariz.

La.

Democratic votes top 2016 presidential in 13 states

2018 Democratic and Republican House votes compared to

2016 presidential votes

Equal to

2016 votes

-25%

+25%

Mont.

N.D.

W. Va.

Hawaii

Idaho

Wyo.

Vt.

Kan.

Minn.

N.M.

S.D

Okla.

Iowa

Texas

Ky.

Tenn.

Del.

Mich.

R.I.

Mo.

Ore.

Conn.

Alaska

Nev.

Maine

N.H.

Ind.

S.C.

Utah

Ohio

Colo.

Ark.

Md.

Ill.

Miss.

N.J.

Ariz.

La.

Democratic votes top 2016 presidential in 13 states

2018 Democratic and Republican House votes compared to 2016 presidential votes

Equal to

2016 votes

-25%

+25%

Mont.

N.D.

W. Va.

Hawaii

Idaho

Wyo.

Vt.

Kan.

Minn.

N.M.

S.D

Okla.

Iowa

Texas

Ky.

Tenn.

Del.

Mich.

R.I.

Mo.

Ore.

Conn.

Alaska

Nev.

Maine

N.H.

Ind.

S.C.

Utah

Ohio

Colo.

Ark.

Md.

Ill.

Miss.

N.J.

Ariz.

La.

Democratic votes top 2016 presidential in 13 states

2018 Democratic and Republican House votes compared to 2016 presidential votes

Equal to

2016 votes

-25%

+25%

Mont.

N.D.

W. Va.

Hawaii

Idaho

Wyo.

Vt.

Kan.

Minn.

N.M.

S.D

Okla.

Iowa

Texas

Ky.

Tenn.

Del.

Mich.

R.I.

Mo.

Ore.

Conn.

Alaska

Nev.

Maine

N.H.

Ind.

S.C.

Utah

Ohio

Colo.

Ark.

Md.

Ill.

Miss.

N.J.

Ariz.

La.

Washington and California not shown due to incomplete precinct reporting. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin not shown because uncontested races are not tabulated by AP.

In many states, however, higher enthusiasm did not deliver wins. States like North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and Montana are so solidly conservative that increased enthusiasm from Democrats at most created tightened margins, not flipped seats. Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) won by five percent points a seat that his predecessor, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, had consistently won by 15. In a West Virginia district that the previous Republican representative held by 44 points in 2016, Republican Carol Miller won by 13 against Trump-supporting Democratic candidate Rep. Richard Ojeda.

However, Democrats did gain an unexpected House seat in Oklahoma and flip seats in Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota. Their gain in Minnesota, however, was leveled by Republicans’ flipping up an equal number of seats.

In Texas, where Democrats showed up at nearly equal numbers to 2016, Democrats flipped two House seats with one race still too close to call. Republican Ted Cruz, however, held on to his Senate seat against Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who brought national attention and millions in fundraising to the close race. Cruz’s margin of victory was less than 3 points, compared with 16 in 2012.

Many states with high Democratic enthusiasm were home to key governor and Senate races. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faced a tough race in North Dakota, against Trump-aligned Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, that she ultimately lost. Sen. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat who recently voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, kept his West Virginia seat, as did Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in a special election.

Open governorships in two solidly red states, Kansas and South Dakota, created two surprisingly close races. Both states have more than 60 percent more voters registered Republican than Democrat. In Kansas, Democrat Laura Kelly beat out Kris Kobach, a divisive former secretary of state who faced court challenges over his voting laws. Republican Kristi Noem won in South Dakota, becoming the first woman governor of the state.

While GOP enthusiasm trailed, Republicans still had a strong midterm showing in a race that drew out voters. In the 2014 midterms, the average state retained two-thirds of Republican votes from the previous presidential election. This year, it was more than 75 percent.

Shelly Tan contributed to this report.

Sources

Numbers on total votes for House races from the Associated Press (as of 11 a.m.) and Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.

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