Republicans have a historic advantage in a key midterm indicator


Sometimes you see a poll result that pops up on the page. That’s what happened when I saw a recently released Gallup poll about who Americans think can handle the issue that matters most to them better.

Put into historical context, this poll potentially bodes very well for Republicans in November.

We’re all used to polls asking voters which issue is most important to them. Gallup asks Americans an open-ended question, meaning a respondent can say anything from the mundane (such as inflation) to something (such as clowns).

Gallup, unlike other pollsters, has a different twist on that question. They follow this up by asking respondents which party they think can handle the most important issue they have just named.

The latest Gallup data shows that 48% of Americans believe the Republican Party is best equipped, while 37% believe the Democratic Party.

This 11-point Republican margin is one of the best they’ve ever had. In the 20 midterm elections since this question was asked in 1946, only once has the Republican Party held a greater advantage on this question. That was in 1946, when the Republicans had a 17-point lead over the Democrats.

The Republicans had a net gain of 55 House seats in the 1946 election. And while the correlation isn’t perfect (+0.7 on a -1 to 1 scale) between House seats won by Republicans and how they fared against Democrats on the most important issue, it’s very much there.

Look at every election since 1946 he was a Democrat. Republicans won an average of 230 seats in the five elections when Americans were asked who they trusted most on the issue that matters most to them. Among them, in 1946 they won 246 seats.

In the four elections that Republicans fell behind on that question, they won an average of just 189 seats. This included 1962 and 1998, the only two general election periods with a Democratic president in which the Republicans had a net gain of less than five seats. Democrats need a net gain of less than five seats over Republicans to retain control of the House after the November election.

This year’s big Republican lead may come as a surprise given what the electoral landscape looks like. Democrats and Republicans are essentially tied in the overall vote in Congress right now. Democrats have done well in special elections helped by the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. to invalidate Wade.

In fact, it’s plausible that Democrats have surpassed the historical baseline that Gallup suggests.

But abortion may also disappear as an issue. It ranked seventh compared to other issues in a recent Monmouth University poll when Americans were asked to name the issues they considered very important or very important.

According to Gallup polls, 8% of Americans named abortion as the nation’s most important issue in July. This was the highest since Gallup began to consider abortion an important issue in 1984. In recent polls, only 4% said abortion was the most important issue. Also, the percentage of Americans who listed the judicial system/courts/law as their most important issue fell from 5% in July to 2% now.

We also see it in Google searches. The number of Google abortion searches in September was essentially tied to the number of searches in April, before the May leak of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe. Searches in September were a third of May’s level. They are a fifth of their level in June, when Roe was overturned. They are less than half of what they were in July.

This could be very bad news for Democrats. Polls show Democrats are more reliable than Republicans on abortion by double digits. Republicans are more confident by double digits on the issues of inflation and the economy, which many more Americans said in the Monmouth poll was important to them.

Another high-profile issue at the Monmouth inquest was crime. The issue that the Republicans have launched. Polls indicate they have a double-digit lead on offense.

It’s worth noting that in May, June and July, abortion searches on Google outnumbered crime searches. Today, felony searches outnumber abortion by more than two to one.

If it is met in November, Republicans will have no problem reaching that average of 230 House seats, when Americans have the advantage of being able to better handle the issue that matters most to them.