Midterms 2022: Is a red tide coming?

Midterms 2022: Is a red tide coming?

It could be a Red November after all.

This year’s midterm elections have been painfully difficult to predict:

  • Redistricting has altered the battle lines, making some once-safe seats close and forcing some incumbents into retirement.
  • Population shifts and polarization have slashed the number of “swing” districts, making it less likely we’d have a “wave” election like we did in 2010 or 2018.
  • The Supreme Court Dobbs ruling energized Democrats, who outperformed in — and even won — some special elections that had been expected to go Republican.

But pundits and pollsters now see signs that the initial shock of the abortion ruling is fading among swing-district voters, who are more concerned about the economy. From a new Politico-Morning Consult poll:

  • 80% of registered voters say inflation will play a “major role” in their vote, while just 59% say the same about abortion
  • 61% say the economy is getting worse
  • 46% say they trust the Republicans more to handle economic issues, compared to 39% for Democrats

Democrats currently hold a paper-thin 220-212 majority in the House, with three vacancies. Republicans need to win 218 seats to take control. The consensus among analysts is that Republicans are a safe bet in 203 districts, with Democrats safe in 178. The remaining 54 will decide control, and the GOP would only need to win 15 to take the House.

Democrats’ odds of holding the House have fallen in online betting markets from 29% at the start of September to 16% today — and the data-crunchers at FiveThirtyEight now say a GOP gain of 30 seats or more is entirely possible.

Of course, polls and predictions don’t decide who runs Congress — you do. So please get out and vote.