This essay will test your understanding of Congressional Elections as well as Political Parties & Public Opinion (polling). You will be picking a race for U.S. House or U.S. Senate that is considered open for 2020.  This means any House will do, while only some Senate seats are up for election.  ***A Key rule here is that you cannot write about any Florida Races!!!

1. What happened last time? If you write about a House race, this means that the last election was in 2018.  If you write about a Senate race then the last election was in 2014, either way which candidate and therefore party won the last election.  Was it a close race, was it a landslide?  That being said, is there an incumbent running for re-election, or is the seat wide open?  Has one party been in control of the seat for a long time, or has the seat alternated between the two parties recently?  Give all the details and party dynamics since it sets up what to expect in this year’s race. 

2. Who are the candidates, and how are they campaigning online?  If there’s an incumbent, check out their social media pages to see how they are campaigning thus far, highlighting how they use their digital and social media presence to reach voters/constituents.  Provide some of their background information too, what laws have they voted for that they like to campaign on, what challenges or controversies do they have to push back on?  They should have campaign websites or official government sites with such info.  Is there a declared challenger?  There should be by now, and if so make sure to give a short background on them and highlight their online presence as well. 

3. How do the polls look, what’s the media saying thus far? Find at least one example of any public opinion poll.  Could be one on the incumbent’s approval rating, could be an actual head to head match-up poll between the incumbent and the leading challenger.  Make sure to describe the poll and what you think it says about the race as we get closer to November.  Also find one example of a news article that talks about the race and in particular asserts any advantage or disadvantage that the incumbent or challenger has, as in something that you can point to and suggest the media is publishing that might influence how voters view one (or both) of the candidates. 

4. What do you think will happen (and why).  Using any other polling data, information about the Presidential election and possible “coattails”, current events (there’s obviously a big one to consider), and any info out there, back up your opinion as to which party/candidate should win this House or Senate seat.  Treat it like you’re giving a prediction, and you have to provide information your sources to back up your prediction. 

Again this needs to be 4 pages with at least 5 sources.


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