Nearly three in four of this year’s federal races will not be competitive, election forecasters say

Five hundred and twenty-one federal elections are taking place this November, including elections for president in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, elections for 35 seats in the U.S. Senate, and elections for all 435 voting seats in the U.S. House. A Ballotpedia review of election forecasts found forecasters project 137 of those races (26.3%) will be competitive, with the remaining 384 all but certain to be won by one of the two major parties.

Ballotpedia’s 2020 election forecasts hub contains an overview of presidential and congressional race ratings from major forecasters as of Sept. 1, 2020. This review looked at race ratings from the Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and the Bitecofer model as of Sept. 1, 2020.

As of Sept. 1, election forecasters saw President Donald Trump (R) as all but certain to win 13 states in his bid for re-election, with challenger Joe Biden (D) all but certain to win 13 states plus the District of Columbia. Forecasters identified eight states as battlegrounds where both Biden and Trump have a substantial chance of winning, including three toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, and North Carolina.

In the U.S. Senate, 35 seats are up this year, including 23 held by Republicans and 12 held by Democrats. Forecasters projected 10 seats are all but certain to go to Republicans and eight are all but certain to go to Democrats, leaving 17 competitive races. Two of those—Iowa and North Carolina—are toss-ups. Forecasters also identified two seats that tilt towards each party, with Montana and the regularly-scheduled election in Georgia tilting towards Republicans and the races in Colorado and Maine tilting towards Democrats. All six toss-up and tilt seats are currently held by Republicans.

In the U.S. House, all 435 voting seats are up for election. Forecasters projected that 339 are all but guaranteed to one of the two major parties—186 seats to Democrats and 153 to Republicans. Ten seats were identified as toss-ups where neither party has a clear advantage, including seven seats currently held by Democrats and three currently held by Republicans. There were five U.S. House races where forecasters differed on which party was ahead: Illinois’ 13th, Indiana’s 5th, North Carolina’s 11th, Texas’ 3rd, and Texas’ 21st.

Additional reading:
Race rating definitions and methods
Presidential election, 2020
United States Senate elections, 2020
United States House of Representatives elections, 2020