We’re rapidly approaching the 2022 mid-term election. In general, no matter what illegitimate party holds the White House, it loses seats every year. The Democrats currently hold a majority of ten seats in the House. A loss of six seats would mean Nancy Pelosi has more time to spend with her husband and have a couple drinks. Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority leader after a net gain of just one seat. Inflation is pushing through the 9% (June Inflation Numbers Smash Expectations, Drawing Obscenities and Proclamations of Doom) level, gas prices are flirting with $5/gallon, Joey SoftServe’s approval rating is on a glide path to drop below 30%, and only 13% of voters thinking the nation is on the right track. The Democrats appear primed to have an ass-whipping party.
Disappointment is not the answer. There is always hope. And this is where Nate Cohn and the New York Times come in.
With President Biden’s approval rating mired in the 30s and with nearly 80 percent of voters saying the country is heading in the wrong direction, all the ingredients seem to be in place for a Republican sweep in the November midterm elections.
But Democrats and Republicans start the campaign in an incredibly close race to control Congress according to the New York Times/Siena College poll.
The results showed that Democrats lead with registered voters by 1 point and Republicans by 1 point with likely voters. So, it is obvious to focus on registered voters.
In an open-ended survey, about one sixth of registered voters indicated that the greatest problem facing America was guns, abortion, or the Supreme Court. Those voters preferred Democratic control of Congress, 68 percent to 8 percent.
Some hot social issues that were thought to be beneficial to Republicans in the early stages of this cycle have been forgotten about. Only 4 percent said that education, immigration or crime was the top issue confronting the nation.
The Times/Siena poll isn’t the only one to show that Democrats have seen a positive change in the political climate since Roe was overthrown by the Supreme Court. Comparing to surveys done before, Democrats are up by three points in the general congressional poll.
The poll shows greater support from the public for legal abortion in the aftermath of the court ruling than any previous Times/Siena survey. Sixty-five percent of registered voters said abortion should be mostly or always legal, up from 60 percent of registered voters in September 2020.
The proportion of voters who opposed the court’s decision — 61 percent — was similar to the share who said they supported Roe v. Wade two years ago.
Democrats maintain the loyalty of a critical sliver, predominantly liberal and educated voters who are dissatisfied with Mr. Biden’s performances but care more about gun debates, democracy, and shrinking abortion rights than they do the state of America.
This, to my mind, is patent absurdity.
First and foremost, congressional districts determine which representatives will be elected. In the best of circumstances, a national poll can be a cumbersome tool. It is absurd to try and make minor political issues seem like a sign of good times when virtually every political metric available in the book points against Democrats.
The major issues for Democrats are abortion (67%), guns (67%), or “threats to democracy” (64%-lolol). Those issues draw 15%, 5%, and 21%, respectively, interest from Republicans.
Gallup’s polling of top issues finds this poll and the New York Times’ treatment of their importance out of step. Below are how these issues rate with voters on an extremely/very/moderately important scale.
Gun Policy: 52/28/13
Relations with Russia: 30/27/28
Climate Change: 20/23/19
I believe that Abortion and Gun Policy reflect current events. It remains to be seen if those issues will be relevant in November. A lot of Republicans might not care about Gun Policy and Abortion, even though they feel that they’ve won major battles. But, this doesn’t mean they aren’t caring.
The same Gallup report finds Republicans leading Democrats in enthusiasm about the 2022 elections by 10 points and overall voter enthusiasm where it was in 2010.
It is useful to see how the generic July congressional ballot predicts elections. The table below shows the spread and direction of the mid-July generic ballot going back to 2008 and what the final RCP average was for the generic ballot. Although I do have issues with RCP average, it is widely accepted and offers the most documentation. Next, you will see the electoral result in terms of the House seats won by the winner party. The last column displays the House’s partisan composition.
The most important conclusion is that the July generic vote and any other data doesn’t seem to have much in common. Although there is an evident relationship between RCP’s final RCP average and election outcomes, it cannot be considered predictive since two elections were reversed from the generic. The predictive factor is that the GOP wins the generic ballot in July and the Democrats are defeated in November. In 2010, an R+2.3 lead yielded 64 seats. A two-point Democrat lead in July has produced results in the band of R+13 to D+8.
Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com does a district-by-district analysis and concludes that the next House will have at least 226 Republicans.
Unless Joe Biden’s brain trust can a) fix the economy, b) fix the “right track/wrong track” number, and get Biden’s approval rating out of the 30s, no number of New York Times stories laced with “copium” will change the mauling the Democrats are thundering towards.