Following the Republican sweep in Virginia and close race in New Jersey, momentum is shifting toward Republicans heading into the 2022 elections. New polling of registered voters by USA Today and Suffolk University shows Republicans leading the generic ballot for Congress by 8%, with 45.9%, compared with Democrats, who took 37.7% of those polled. 16.4% of voters remain undecided.
The poll, taken the day after Republican gains from the New Jersey suburbs to Seattle, also highlighted the frustration of the American public with the performance of the unified Democratic government in Washington. When asked if they approve of the job Congress is doing, an astonishing 74.5% of voters said they disapprove. Only 12.4% responded favorably to Congressional job performance. With no major policy gains for Democrats in the going on eleven months since assuming total control of the government, the effect is also being felt by President Biden, whose disapproval rating is now underwater by over 21 points, with 59% disapproving of his performance and only 37.8% approving.
When asked if voters believe the president should run for re-election in 2024, 63.7% said no, and 29.1% yes, with only 7.2% undecided. This shows that even some of those who approve of the president’s job performance do not believe he should run again. The disappointing numbers for Biden will likely be reflected in his reduced ability to assist Democrats facing tough races – that’s if those Democrats ask for his help.
When asked if the Virginia election may be a sign of coming success for Republicans nationwide in 2022, 47.9% said that it was, while 39.2% regard the GOP success this month as a single case that won’t bear national implications.
A path has been charted for Republicans in the post-Trump era midterms by Glenn Youngkin’s Virginia win, and majorities in both houses of Congress are looking more likely. Republicans have an opportunity to follow the Virginia Republican’s lead in using education, economic development, and public safety as winning issues and bringing suburban voters home to the Republican Party while growing the GOP’s strength in rural and small-town America. Time will tell, but an 8-point lead on the generic ballot could be a sign that even some previously untouchable Democratic groups may be up for grabs.