Today’s entry: I briefly heard you say something recently about the outlook for the midterms. I was wondering if you could provide a historical perspective with current information about what the outlook is for next year? Many of us are looking for good news to latch onto right now and the recent elections were encouraging.
Bottom Line: We’re now under a year away which means we’re officially inside the cycle. I get having something to look forward to given the plight we find ourselves in under the abomination that is the Biden administration with Democrats in complete control of Congress.
Time and time again we see the narratives of the left and their allies in news media fall flat. Incidentally, not only is Biden’s average approval rating down a point with disapproval up two points since the passage of the bill, we enter this week with Biden’s approval rating the lowest and disapproval rating the highest at any point in his term thus far. So, while Biden will extoll the virtues in a signing ceremony today, most Americans care far more about how much more everyday life costs than they do Biden’s grand vision.
Now, let's talk about the outlook for next year’s elections. The outlook for change in Washington is only growing. The best ubiquitous measure of the mood of the country in the context of Congressional elections is the generic ballot question. In gaining complete control of Congress, Democrats beat Republicans in Congressional races by 3-points nationally last year. In other words, from a generic ballot perspective, Democrats had what amounted to a 3-point advantage on Election Day. That was an improvement over the 8-point shellacking the GOP took in the 2018 midterms, which is why they were able to gain some lost ground in the House of Representatives last year while still managing to lose Senate seats which flipped control of the Senate.
The last cycle Republicans won the Congressional vote nationally was in 2016 when they just so happened to win by almost exactly 1-point. That becomes the floor for what we’re looking at today. As for what that would potentially look like using the House of Representatives as the barometer, given that all House seats are up for election every two years while Senate seats come up only every six. The current floor if the mood of the country were to remain as it is today on Election Day next year would be a gain of 31 seats for Republicans allowing them to easily gain control of the House.
Now, the reason I say that’s the floor is two-fold. Over the past five election cycles, Republicans have outperformed the final generic ballot question by 1%. Additionally, history suggests that meaningful mood changes in off-election years generally grow leading into the next cycle. To that end, the last time Republicans held any advantage on the generic ballot question in November of the year preceding an election, was in 2013. Republicans held an average advantage of 1%, just like today.
So as of today, the 2022 landscape for Republicans in the US House indicates a gain of between 31 to 37 seats. One might imagine that type of performance would likely allow Republicans to gain at least one net Senate seat as well which would flip the balance of Congress in both chambers.
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