The New York Times Tries to Help Democrats Whistle Past the Signs of a Blowout Election in 2022 – Opinion

We’re rapidly approaching the 2022 mid-term election. In off years, the White House party that holds the majority of the seats, regardless how unlegitimate, usually loses them. The Democrats currently hold a majority of ten seats in the House. A loss of six seats would mean Nancy Pelosi has more time to spend with her husband and have a couple drinks. Mitch McConnell is the Senate Majority leader after a net gain of just one seat. Inflation is pushing through the 9% (June Inflation Numbers Smash Expectations, Drawing Obscenities and Proclamations of Doom) level, gas prices are flirting with $5/gallon, Joey SoftServe’s approval rating is on a glide path to drop below 30%, and only 13% of voters thinking the nation is on the right track. The Democrats appear primed to have an attack on their opponents.

There is always someone who can cheer you up when there’s despair. Nate Cohn is one of these cheerleaders. New York TimesPlease come in.

With President Biden’s approval rating mired in the 30s and with nearly 80 percent of voters saying the country is heading in the wrong direction, all the ingredients seem to be in place for a Republican sweep in the November midterm elections.

The first New York Times/Siena College poll of the year found that Republicans and Democrats are in a close race to control Congress.

According to the results, Democrats are leading with registered voters by 1 point, and Republicans by 1 point with likely voters. So, it is obvious that the emphasis will be on registered voters.

An open-ended survey asked registered voters to identify the biggest problem facing their country. They voted for issues related guns, abortion and the Supreme Court. This is about one out of six total registered voters. These voters preferred Democratic control over Congress by 68 percent to 8%.

Many of the social issues that were hot at the start of this cycle and thought would work in the favor of Republicans, such as critical race theory, are now out of fashion. Only 4 per cent of respondents said immigration, crime and education were the greatest issues facing the country.

This Times/Siena poll isn’t the only one to show that Democrats have seen a change in the political climate since Roe was overturned by the Supreme Court. Comparing to surveys done before, Democrats are up by three points in the general congressional poll.

In the wake of the court’s ruling, the poll finds greater public support for legal abortion than previous Times/Siena surveys. Sixty-five per cent of registered voters favored abortion being mostly legal or always, up from 60% in September 2020.

The proportion of voters who opposed the court’s decision — 61 percent — was similar to the share who said they supported Roe v. Wade two years ago.

Democrats are maintaining the loyalty of a crucial sliver of predominantly liberal and highly educated voters who disapprove of Mr. Biden’s performance but care more about debates over guns, democracy and the shrinking of abortion rights than the state of the economy.

This is, to my mind, patent absurdity.

Representatives are first and foremost elected on the basis Congressional districts. National polls are clumsy instruments in the best times. If virtually all of the political metrics in the book are against Democrats, it is absurd to pretend that minor issues can be a indicator of better times.

The major issues for Democrats are abortion (67%), guns (67%), or “threats to democracy” (64%–lolol). These topics attract 15%, 21% and 5% interest respectively from Republicans.

Gallup’s polling of top issues finds this poll and the New York Times’ treatment of their importance out of step. Below are how these issues rate with voters on an extremely/very/moderately important scale.

Economy: 53/32/14

Gun Policy: 52/28/13

Abortion: 42/24/19

Immigration: 35/30/24

Taxes: 34/22/26

Relations with Russia 30/27/28

Climate Change: 20/23/19

The current state of Abortion and Gun Policy is a reflection of the times. It remains to be seen if those issues will be relevant in November. I also believe that a lot of Republicans may not be “concerned” about Gun Policy or Abortion because they rightly feel they have won some major battles. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t concerned.

Gallup also found that Republicans are leading Democrats by 10 percentage points in their enthusiasm for the 2022 election, and overall voter enthusiasm is where it was back in 2010.

A useful tool is to see how the generic July congressional ballot predicts elections. This table shows how the mid-July generic election ballot has changed since 2008, as well as the RCP average. Although I do have issues with RCP average, it is widely accepted and offers the most documentation. Next, you will see the electoral result in terms of the House seats won by the winner party. The last column displays the House’s partisan composition.

The most obvious takeaway is that there doesn’t appear to be any correlation between the July generic ballot and much of anything. There is arguably a stronger relationship between the final RCP average and the election outcome, but it can’t claim to be predictive as two of the seven elections went opposite of the generic ballot. It is possible to predict that the GOP will lead the generic ballot in July and then the Democrats lose November like a rent mule. An R+2.3 lead in July 2010 yielded 64 votes. In July, a two-point lead by Democrats has resulted in 64 seats in the range of R+13 through D+8.

Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com does a district-by-district analysis and concludes that the next House will have at least 226 Republicans.

Unless Joe Biden’s brain trust can a) fix the economy, b) fix the “right track/wrong track” number, and get Biden’s approval rating out of the 30s, no number of New York Times stories laced with “copium” will change the mauling the Democrats are thundering towards.

 

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