Republicans are picking up momentum as President Joe Biden’s approval keeps dropping, and new data shows Republicans are gaining in key Senate battleground states. New polling from ABC News and the Washington Post conducted by Langer Research shows the drop in the President’s favorability in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin coincides with a fall in the generic ballot for Democrats.
These eight states will decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in 2022. Four are held by Democrats; Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and New Hampshire; while Republicans hold seats in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. GOP seats in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina are rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, while Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada are rated as leaning toward Democrats. Sen. Rubio’s Florida seat stands as leaning Republican. On a generic Congressional ballot, 58% of voters in these states said they’d vote Republican, while 35% would vote Democratic. The 23-point gap should spark concern among Democrats in a 50-50 Senate.
In these battlegrounds, the president’s image is certainly a factor in this decision. Those polled in key swing states gave President Biden a 33% job approval rating, compared to the 43% given by voters in all other states. When it comes to the economy, 34% approve of his performance, while 41% approved in all other states. On the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, battleground state voters scored Biden at 38%, compared with 49% approval from other states. The president’s underperformance in the polled swing states looks like it will certainly harm his ability to help Senate campaigns across the finish line.
Another factor is general displeasure with the performance of Congressional incumbents. When asked whether they would re-elect their representative in Congress or look for someone new, only 19% stated they’d support the incumbent, while 62% are planning to look around. With new district lines coming and a wave of new challengers stepping up across the country, the 2023-2024 Congressional session will likely feature many new faces.
This polling reveals an opportunity for Republicans looking to make gains and win these battleground states. Highlighting the inability of Democratic leadership to pass meaningful legislation despite controlling both the White House and Congress is now well received by voters. Similarly, the overall lack of confidence in the ability of Congress to work together means that it might require a run to the right to be victorious on Election Night. Virginia showed voters are looking for meaningful action on issues that matter to them. A fresh perspective and an emphasis on getting the job done will likely be key factors when voters head to the polls in just over a year.