Republicans’ Midterm Elections Are Not Guaranteed

Republicans’ Midterm Elections Are Not Guaranteed

Analysis: A non-American’s guide to the 2022 US midterms

A recent poll from Quinnipiac University asked voters which party’s candidates they would vote for in the November 2018 midterm elections. Sixty-one percent said they would vote for Democrats, compared to 19 percent saying they would vote for Republicans. One-quarter of voters said they would vote for a third party candidate.

The poll used a formula from the Quinnipiac University survey last November to predict whether the nation would go to the polls in 2020. Republicans had a 5.5% margin of error, a percentage much too small to predict elections accurately. In fact, Republicans’ chances of returning to the House fell from 66% to 42%.

Democrats have reason for optimism, however. On Nov. 6, 2018, the last midterm election before 2020, Democrats won the House of Representatives for the first time since 2002. Republican candidates won a record six governorships, 10 governorships, and 46 U.S. Senate seats and picked up 20 Democratic-held state legislative chambers. They expanded the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate to a 12-9 advantage and saw the party take control of the U.S. House for the first time in 14 years.

In the short term, this success might make some Republican donors feel better about giving more money to the party overall. But Republicans’ midterm electoral success is far from assured.

A closer look at the data in this year’s election might help Republicans better assess midterm success. In the House, Democrats need to win 23 seats to take a majority. In the Senate, Democrats need a net-positive number of 36 seats to win control. Democrats have only 11 seats.

It’s not enough for Democrats to win a few districts. They would need to win as many as 18 or 19 districts or gain as many as 19 additional seats.

Democrats are doing well in many of their own districts, but Republicans still have some key advantages going forward. In many races, the number of Republican candidates on the ballots is higher this year than in 2018, meaning more voters will vote against the Republican candidates on the ballot.

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