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Democrats See Boost In Midterm Support After Roe. V. Wade Ruling, Poll Suggests


Topline

Republicans and Democrats are in dead heat for control of Congress in November, a new poll from New York Times/Siena College suggests, a sign Democrats may have picked up support from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade after previous surveys showed Democrats were likely to lose big in the midterms.

Key Facts

Roughly 41% of registered voters want to see Democrats control Congress, while 40% of voters prefer Republican control, according to the New York Times/Siena College survey, which was conducted from July 5 to 7.

The poll supports previous surveys that have found increasing support for Democrats—who were expected to lose more seats than average, according to a May Gallup poll—in response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Abortion was top of mind for those who wanted Democrats to control Congress, according to the New York Times/Siena College poll, as well as gun control, following a spate of deadly mass shootings in the U.S., including a massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Those hoping for Republican congressional control, meanwhile, are most concerned by inflation—which hit a new 40-year high for the 12 months ending in June—and the economy, according to the Times/Siena College poll.

The midterm polling comes as Biden’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest levels, with the New York Times/Siena College survey showing only 33% of Americans approve of his performance, while faith in the direction of the country has also dropped (13% think the U.S. is on the right track).

Key Background

Recent analyses from FiveThirtyEight and Cook Political Report suggest Republicans are highly likely to take control of the House, where they could pick up as many as 25 seats, and are at a slight advantage for winning the Senate as well, where Cook Political report says 11 seats are strong, likely or lean Democrat, compared to 19 seats that are strong, likely or lean Republican. Historically, the president’s party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections. But skyrocketing inflation levels, dissatisfaction with Biden and an ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may make matters even worse for Democrats this year. Still, Republicans may face a much more challenging battle in the Senate, where the quality of the individual candidates matters more, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver. Democrats are trying to capitalize on the Roe v. Wade decision, arguing turning out at the polls is the best way to respond, and recent surveys suggest the ruling indeed may be motivating more Americans to vote. The redistricting process has also helped Democrats somewhat, with six new Democratic-leaning seats and no new Republican-leaning seats compared to old maps, according to FiveThirtyEight, which said court decisions overturning Republican gerrymandered maps in states like North Carolina helped fuel these victories.

Tangent

Recent polling from the New York Times/Siena College suggests support for both Biden and Trump is falling, with two-thirds of Democratic voters saying they want a different candidate besides Biden in 2024, and half of Republicans saying they don’t want Trump to run in the next presidential election. For Democrats, the biggest concerns with Biden are his age—79—and his job performance. One in five GOP voters, meanwhile, believe Trump’s behavior on January 6 constituted a threat to American democracy.

What To Watch For

Candidates will face competitive races for several House and Senate seats, according to Cook Political Report, which lists five Senate and 33 House races as “toss ups.” Three House seats in Nevada—where Republicans have not won in presidential elections since 2004, but where Democratic support may be shrinking—could also go either way, according to Cook. Gubernatorial races in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada will be some of the most competitive.

Further Reading

Poll Shows Tight Race for Control of Congress as Class Divide Widens (New York Times)

Why Republicans Are Favored To Win The House, But Not The Senate (FiveThirtyEight)

Could House Democrats lose 70 seats this fall? (CNN)

Democrats’ Midterm Nightmare: Polls Suggest Party Could Face Historic Loss (Forbes)

Nearly Half Of Republicans Don’t Want Trump As President In 2024, Poll Suggests (Forbes)

Governor’s races to watch in the 2022 midterms (Washington Post)



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