By Nathan L. Gonzales, Erin Covey and Jacob Rubashkin
This isn’t the midterm election Republicans envisioned, but the GOP can still reach their final goals.
Democrats have seen improvement in President Joe Biden’s job rating and the national generic ballot in the wake of the Dobbs decision, and they’ve overperformed in a handful of recent House special elections. The potential for Democrats to buck the daunting midterm history has become the story du jour.
But the Democratic surge never swept over the 2022 House battlefield, and Biden’s uptick hasn’t had a dramatic impact on key races. The issue landscape has shifted slightly. The economy isn’t good enough for Democrats to run on but it’s improved enough to dilute its potency as a Republican attack. So the GOP is leaning more into crime and immigration while Democrats are close to all-in on abortion.
Republicans are still the favorites to gain the five seats they need for a House majority, although their majority will likely be narrow. We’re shifting our projection from Republicans +12-30 seats to Republicans +8-20.
While Republicans only admit a modest deterioration of their previous midterm advantage, the Senate battlefield embodies a clear shift. A year ago, GOP strategists did not expect to have to spend significant time and money in the fall holding Ohio, North Carolina, or even Pennsylvania, yet those races are draining resources. Consequently, Republicans look short of the money and environmental advantage…