Here are the signs Republicans’ hopes of a ‘red wave’ are fading ahead of the 2022 election

WASHINGTON — Last fall, Republicans had high hopes for a “red wave” in the 2022 election after seizing power in blue Virginia and nearly winning the gubernatorial race in New Jersey. While Democrats were unmotivated, the GOP base was on fire.

But in recent weeks, numerous data points have indicated Republican prospect of a landslide victory darken. While the president’s party tends to do poorly in midterm elections, there are signs it’s shaping up to be an unusual year, potentially allowing Democrats to hold one or both houses of Congress.

Election analysts attribute the change to the conservative Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the constitutional right to legal abortion, falling gas prices and former President Donald Trump grabbing the limelight and reasserts its dominance over the GOP.

Here are the signs:

  • A Democratic victory in a landmark election. The most striking sign of a changing landscape came last week to the Hudson Valley, a highly competitive neighborhood in upstate New York that has mirrored the national landscape for years. He voted for Joe Biden in 2020, Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2012. In a climate of red wave, the Democrats would have nothing to gain in the special legislative elections. Still, Democrat Pat Ryan beat Republican Marc Molinaro in a test of each party’s favorite message. Ryan ran on protecting abortion rights, fighting gun violence and tackling corporate greed, while Molinaro sought to make the election a referendum on Biden, inflation and one-party rule in Washington.
  • Persuaded voters lean towards the Democrats. The latest NBC News poll, conducted this month, included an unusual find for the midterm elections: voters persuaded in the midterm elections lean towards the Democrats, the ruling party. This group represents about 25% of the respondents, who oscillate between the parties and are rather male, moderate, independent and exurban. They preferred Republicans by 6 points in the combined NBC News polls of January, March and May. But in the August poll, they were leaning toward the Democrats by 3 points.
  • The GOP’s “enthusiasm” edge is shrinking. In March, the NBC News poll found Republicans held a 17-point “enthusiasm” advantage over Democrats – meaning their voters were more likely to express a strong interest in voting this fall. . In the August poll, the GOP advantage dropped to 2 points.
  • Mitch McConnell plays down expectations in the Senate. McConnell, the Republican leader, doesn’t seem too optimistic about his chances of taking control of the Senate, having predicted just two weeks ago: “There’s probably a better chance of the House rocking than the Senate.” It may be the product of environmental change, as well as a phenomenon McConnell called it “candidate quality.” A series of first-time Republican candidates are vying in competitive races against seasoned Democratic politicians. Recruitment failures in states like New Hampshire and Arizona have led GOP governors to decline to run.
  • Republicans are cutting ad spending in battleground Arizona while pouring cash into safer Ohio. The Senate Leadership Fund, a McConnell-allied super PAC, is cut 8 million dollars in September passing through Arizona while pledging $28 million in Ohio to support Republican JD Vance, who is neck and neck in the Senate race with Democratic Representative Tim Ryan. Senate Leadership Fund Chairman Steven Law said in a statement that the party is reallocating resources due to “an unforeseen expense in Ohio.” In 2020, the state voted 12.5 points higher for Republicans than the country as a whole — that should be a layup for the GOP, especially in a favorable year.
  • Biden’s approval may be growing (although still mediocre). One of the most troubling data points for Democrats has been the president’s approval rating, which is historically correlated with midterm election results. Biden’s job endorsement took a nosedive last summer. The NBC News poll finds Biden’s approval rating is roughly steady at 42%. Other surveys show it is up slightly, including a new Gallup poll it shows his approval rose from 38% in July to 44% in August – his highest rating in a year. The main driver of this change is that the approval of independents has increased from 31% in July to 40% this month.
  • Republicans seem scared of abortion. GOP candidates are seeking to cloud their views on abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling and the New York special election, apparently worried their position is a political loser. Among them, Blake Masters, the candidate for the Senate of Arizona, who removed anti-abortion language from its campaign website. They also include Tom Barrett, the Republican seeking to unseat Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who removed part of his campaign website promising to “protect life by conception,” the Detroit News reported.

Overall, given the narrow Democratic margins, Republicans don’t need a red wave to take control of Congress — a series of ripples in key races may be enough. And high discontent about the economy and the direction of the country means the mood may still change against Democrats over time.

But with just 70 days to go until Election Day, Democrats see hope in challenging mid-term historic trends against the ruling party.

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