Polling News

GOP Showed Staying Power in 2022

July 13, 2023

A new Pew Research Center study that observed the behavior of the same voters overtime showed that from 2018 to 2022, Republicans turned out more of their supporters among this groups than Democrats did among theirs.

Why It Matters: In 2022, Democratic margins bled significantly from their levels in 2018 and 2020 when Democrats first took the House of Representatives and then won the presidency. The substantial downshift is 2022 is likely attributable in large part to the stalled Biden presidency. 

Republicans at the congressional level maintained their electoral coalition and grew elements of it more effectively than Democrats. Voters who cast their ballot for former President Trump in 2020 turned out at a higher rate in 2022 than those who’d voted for President Biden in 2020. This suggests that Republican policies were more persuasive than that of the current administration, at least in the last cycle.

By The Numbers:

  • 71% of Trump 2020 voters returned to the polls in 2022, compared to 67% of Biden voters. Of these, 3% who voted for Trump in 2020 strayed from the GOP, while 7% of former Biden voters did not vote for Democrats.
  • Republicans held the votes of 95% of those who voted Republican in 2018, while Democrats lost 8% of their voters from 2018.
  • Only 32% of Democratic rural voters from 2018 voted in 2022, and of those 9% defected; 7% went to the GOP and 2% to another party (this may distorted by the small sub-sample size).


Timing: The news comes while Biden faces a potentially growing threat in the primary, where Robert F. Kennedy Jr. holds a higher net favorability (+19) versus the incumbent president, who stands at a net -11-points. Recent polling has also shown Kennedy gaining ground, rising to 15% in national polling against Biden in the last two months. Biden’s re-election campaign has been weak, and a flurry of stories regarding outbursts of anger display the frustration of a floundering administration that may be in fear for its future.

The Bottom Line: This trend may not continue in the coming election but Republicans would be smart to read this as evidence that the center-right on American politics retains a powerful appeal. Advancing the policies that have drawn and held these voters while finding ways to expand that coalition could ensure victory in 2024. 


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