With less than 60 days to go until the election, a new set of polls show some Republican campaigns losing steam.
An Expected Red Wave
Over the past 18 months, political analysts from both sides of the arena have been predicting significant wins for the Republican Party.
To a certain extent, this is just part of a much larger trend: midterms are often seen as an informal “referendum” on the incumbent. Whoever is in the opposition usually gains a few seats during the midterms, as disgruntled voters are easier to mobilize.
This time, predictions went a step further. In many key swing states, polls showed an incoming “red wave” that would solidify Republican candidates.
This was partially spurred by the incumbent party’s repeated mistakes. Rising inflation, a prolonged pandemic, and the defeat of several decisive bills resulted in historically-low approval levels for President Biden.
As recently as August, several high-profile portals such as Politico predicted the G.O.P. could walk with at least 226 seats. Some optimistic estimates called for up to 240 seats for the Republicans. Overall, everything pointed at an unstoppable and well-deserved Republican enthusiasm.
Infighting and Controversy Carry a Cost
Following a hectic summer, the public’s preferences seem to be shifting. So far, the Republican Party still seems to be in the lead but may be losing momentum among the undecided and unaligned.
What the numbers are telling us
In late August, the Hudson Valley district in New York held a special House election. This is a competitive swing district, with results that often mirror the national landscape. Despite the Republican candidate’s confidence, the seat went to Democrat Pat Ryan.
Meanwhile, a recent poll among unaffiliated voters showed a slight preference for Democrats, even of just 3%. Just in May, the same group had shown a 6-point preference for the Republicans. And according to Gallup, even Biden’s approval rose over the last month.
Two possible factors may be slowing down the Republican advance: first, the recent infighting and controversy around the figure of Donald Trump and a galvanized base that is wary of the implications of overturning Roe vs. Wade.
At first glance, the ongoing hearings about the January 6th insurrection should not scare away those who are already uncomfortable with Democrat rule. However, it has revealed the internal schisms within the party, as even seasoned republicans, such as Marc Short or Liz Cheney, began cooperating with authorities. This does little to increase public trust in the party’s institution.
Finally, overturning Roe vs. Wade may have turned out to be an unpopular victory for many voters. The fear of stricter restrictions has helped Democrats mobilize many disenchanted younger voters.
Could the G.O.P. Lose the House?
The Republican Party still looks like a likely victor in the House. Their shot at winning the Senate is not as big, but it’s far from uncertain.
Yet, several key seats may be tighter than predicted. This could leave a rockier road ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.
Grassroots Pulse covers public policy and political issues aimed at engaging highly-active policy makers, donors, and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the political process in America today.
Image Credit: Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash