Here’s another good sign for Democrats’ 2022 hopes

“Democrats continue to poll two to three points better than earlier this year in most districts, giving incumbents in a few blue districts a cushion and putting a few more GOP seats up for grabs,” wrote David Wasserman, who oversees House races for the nonpartisan Campaign. , on Wednesday.

(The three races that swung Democratic this week are Arizona’s 1st District, Arizona’s 2nd District, and Texas’ 28th District).

Now, it’s worth pointing out here — as Wasserman does — that Republicans still only need to win six of the 31 races that Cook rates as “tosses” to control the House, which is entirely doable on that count. The history of midterm elections strongly favors the party without a president.

So no, the recent ratings changes should not be read as a sign that the Democrats will win the majority. In fact, most predictors are tipping the odds heavily on Republicans right now. FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans a 72% chance of regaining the majority in 48 days.

But what changes in Cook do it it suggests that the Republican wave that seemed to be building as recently as this summer appears to have effectively disintegrated.

Simply put: if there was a chance of a big Republican wave coming in November, you’d see disadvantaged areas move marginal Democratic seats into weaker territory. All the traffic would be one-way: Democratic districts once considered impenetrable would be abandoned, dragged down by President Joe Biden’s low poll numbers and lingering worries about high inflation.

But that doesn’t happen. In fact, the opposite is happening: the Democrats’ chances, at least in some races, are strengthening as the election approaches.

This has several important implications (assuming the general trend continues for the next seven weeks is anyone’s guess):

1) Even if the Republicans take the majority of the House in November, they may do so by a small margin, and it will be more difficult to pass their agenda.

2) This would empower groups like the House Freedom Caucus, which, as long as its members stay together, can exert considerable control over the Republican agenda.

3) Democrats would have an easier path back to the majority in 2024, when the presidential turnout should help them get their base to the polls.

point: The change in ratings for some seats may not look like much. But the sign of these changes could be critically important to the shape of politics over the next two years.