Discussion of an impending “blue wave” has proliferated throughout the political landscape since November 2017, aided in part by the media and a Democratic Party eager to claw its way back into power.
Yet very little evidence or research exists on what exactly constitutes a wave election or how they can be measured in the future. A new analysis by Ballotpedia attempts to break ground on the subject by examining data from 50 previous election cycles, ranging from 1918 to 2016, in order to appropriately determine how many seats Democrats would need to win in 2018 for their “blue wave” to not only crest but reach the shore.
Ballotpedia’s analysis defines a “wave” as 20 percent of elections in the last 100 years, in which the president’s party lost the most seats. Using this definition, Ballotpedia measured prior political performance to determine Democrats would need to win at least 48 House seats, 7 Senate seats, 7 gubernatorial seats, and 494 state legislative seats for 2018 to be counted as a wave election.
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