What the hell is going on in the House majority fight?

Entering this summer, 2022 looked like a typical midterm election cycle: President Joe Biden was wildly unpopular, Republicans were emboldened to vote, and Democrats seemed headed for heavy losses in the House and the majority in the Senate. .

Then came the curve ball. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. The decision to overrule Wade appears to have effectively reset the midterm dynamic. Suddenly, Democrats are resurgent, Biden’s numbers are improving, and even Republicans are admitting that the ground has shifted beneath their feet.

The best way to answer this — at least in my opinion — is to look at the generic voting question. This is a question pollsters have been asking for a long time and, in general, it has been a very reliable way to tell which direction the political winds are blowing.

The question reads: “If the election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate for House in your district?” See, generic.

And we’ve had several national polls recently that have asked the question.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday showed Democrats at 44 percent to Republicans at 41 percent among registered voters nationally. A recent NPR/Marist poll of registered voters showed something very similar: Democrats 48%, Republicans 44%.

But how do those percentages translate into actual seats won and lost by both parties this November?

“If you look at how the generic vote correlates with past House seat swings, a small Democratic edge like this would create a very modest swing for Republicans and something close to a tie for control,” said Daron Shaw, GOP pollster Chris Anderson, who conducts the Fox News poll. with the democrat “We still have nine weeks to go and a lot can change, but results like this indicate we could be in for another long election.”

Let’s look at the history of generic voter results among registered voters and how they correlated with House seat gains in recent elections.

In October 2018, the last poll before the election, here’s how the generic vote looked:

Fox: D 47%, R 40% (D+7)

NPR: D 50%, R 40% (D+10)

CNN: D 51%, R 42% (D+9)

Democrats won 40 seats.

In October 2014, the general vote stood at:

Fox: D 45%, R 43% (D+2)

CNN: D 49%, R 43% (D+6)

(NPR’s last poll of registered voters that year was in the general election in August).

Republicans won a net of 13 seats.

In October 2010, the general vote went as follows:

Fox: D 39%, R 46% (R+7)

CNN: D 43%, R 49% (R+6)

Republicans won 63 seats.

What do these numbers tell us? Well, first of all, we’re probably not going to go into a bipartisan election. Large seat swings are directly related to a) a Democratic advantage in the general vote in the single or low single digits or b) a Republican edge in the mid-to-high single digits. We are not seeing any of these scenarios yet.

(Sidebar: We’re in mid-September, not mid-October, which means things can, of course, change between now and then. Usually, though, big swings at the end of an election cycle are rare and almost entirely dependent on external events. main).

Of course, it’s important to note that Republicans don’t need a wave of elections to regain control of the House. They only need a five-seater pickup. This may make the 2014 election, which was during President Barack Obama’s second term, the best offset for the upcoming 2022 election. Democrats entered that vote with a slim single-digit edge over Republicans in the general vote, but the GOP picked up 13 seats. A win would put Republicans back in charge of the House — albeit with a very slim governing majority.