Articles

Will the GOP Win the Senate in the 2022 Midterms?

October 06, 2022
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Senate races are different from other midterm contests: Only a third of Senate seats are up every two years, so generally one party has more to defend than the other. There are 21 Republican seats and only 14 Democratic ones up this year.

Republicans benefit from Americans’ dissatisfaction with the status quo. Only 27% think the U.S. is headed in the right direction, while 66% think it’s on the wrong track, according to Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average. It helps that the issues the GOP is good on—the economy, inflation and crime—are dominant. President Biden’s 43% approval rating gives them a boost. President Obama’s was at 46% in 2010 and 42% in November 2014. The Republicans gained Senate seats in both those midterms.

The power of incumbency helps Republicans in Wisconsin and Florida and Democrats in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. But in this highly polarized environment, the party that carried the state in the last presidential election may matter more. 

This complicates life for both parties. While Republicans are defending open seats in North Carolina and Ohio and Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida—states Mr. Trump carried—they’re also defending an open Pennsylvania seat and Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. Mr. Biden won both, albeit by 1.17 and 0.63 percentage points, respectively. 

While none of the Democratic seats up for election are in Trump states, three are in states Mr. Biden barely carried: Arizona (he won by 0.31%), Georgia (0.23%) and Nevada (2.39%). Even a modest swing from the presidential election would help Republicans hold their two at-risk seats and flip up to three Democratic ones. 

What’s the likelihood of such a swing? In the last four midterms, on average the electorate shifted 4% nationally from the presidential election toward the party out of power—exit polls show a 2-point swing to Democrats in 2006, a 7-point swing to the GOP in both 2010 and 2014, and no swing toward Democrats in 2018. If Mr. Biden’s numbers are any indication, Republicans may get the swing they need.

 

Senate races are different from other midterm contests: Only a third of Senate seats are up every two years, so generally one party has more to defend than the other. There are 21 Republican seats and only 14 Democratic ones up this year.

Republicans benefit from Americans’ dissatisfaction with the status quo. Only 27% think the U.S. is headed in the right direction, while 66% think it’s on the wrong track, according to Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics average. It helps that the issues the GOP is good on—the economy, inflation and crime—are dominant. President Biden’s 43% approval rating gives them a boost. President Obama’s was at 46% in 2010 and 42% in November 2014. The Republicans gained Senate seats in both those midterms.

The power of incumbency helps Republicans in Wisconsin and Florida and Democrats in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada. But in this highly polarized environment, the party that carried the state in the last presidential election may matter more. 

Read More at WSJ

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