Elections are not linear. They go from strength to strength, constantly evolving as they go.
That has been the story of the 2022 mid-term elections, which can be divided into three different events.
This part of the election ran from January 2021 to June 2022. The quality of this stage of the election was the decline in the popularity of Joe Biden, due to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, inflation and the increase in the price of gas. Biden began his term with a 57% job approval rating, according to Gallup. By January 2022, it had dropped to 40%, and generally stayed there through the summer.
This was, in many ways, the blueprint for a typical midterm election cycle. First-term presidents often suffer heavy losses in Congress as the country looks for ways to assert its power. At the same time, he is struggling to motivate the majority party on his side and make the stakes clear to voters.
This part of the election ran from 24 June 2022 to mid-September 2022. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. The decision against Wade had a big impact on voters. It helped eliminate lethargy within the Democratic base by overloading the stakes in their favor.
Biden’s poll numbers also began to improve during this period as gas prices began to decline. By late August, Biden’s job approval rating had risen to 44% in a Gallup poll, and many Democrats (and a few Republicans) believed that ending the constitutional right to abortion was in the process of being fundamentally reoriented. 2022 race. It was no longer a referendum on Biden’s presidency. Now it was a choice between Biden’s image for America and the Republican image, which largely included curtailing women’s abortion rights.
Democrats began spending heavily on television ads on abortion rights and what the Republicans would do if they were given power. The Republicans, on the other hand, continued to focus their message on taxes, inflation and, increasingly, crime.
This phase of the elections started in mid-September and continues until today. And it looks a lot like Act I.
Although abortion remains a critical issue for part of the Democratic base, it does not appear to have the salience among voters that Democrats had hoped for a few months ago. And the economy has remained a key issue for most voters. In a CNN poll released earlier this week, 51 percent of likely voters named the economy the most important issue on which to vote for Congress, while 15 percent named abortion.
And crime has also become a major issue for many voters. In a recent Gallup poll, 7 in 10 registered voters said crime was “very” or “extremely” important to their vote, ranking the issue behind only the economy.
Nonpartisan campaign insiders are starting to up their predictions for Republican gains in the latest action, with some saying the GOP could hold 30 House seats next Tuesday.
The past two years have been a wild ride. It wasn’t that long ago that many Democrats thought they would be able to break the historic precedent of sweeping gains for House Republicans. And, even now, there is hope in Democratic circles that they can hold a majority in the Senate, which would be a huge achievement given what we know about the electorate at this point.
But overall, today’s election looks a lot like what we thought it might look like less than two years ago. Biden’s numbers are poor. Concerns about inflation and potential recession are rife. Crime is a dark horse working for Republicans. And abortion, while a powerful issue for some, seems to have taken a back seat in the minds of many voters.
Add it all up, and it looks like Tuesday will be a very good election for Republicans. That’s what we thought when the whole play started.