As readers of this column know, I have become
very cautious about predicting what voters will do,
and in spite of the expectation of most Republicans
and, yes, Democrats, too (as well as most pundits,
myself included) that the 2022 national mid-term
elections would be a rout, the voters' decisions
were more mixed and localized than anticipated.
A so-called "red wave" did not fully materialize,
although about 4 million more votes were cast
for Republican congressional candidates than
Democrats across the nation. This fact paradoxically
matched most pre-election generic congressional
polls that were interpreted to predict a red wave.
The explanation of how this happened can be seen
by examining the results by states. The 2022 GOP
generic advantage was assumed by most to follow
the 2020 national election model in which very large
states such as California and New York gave
candidate Joe Biden huge margins, thus giving him
millions of popular vote margin, a single digit
generic advantage. But in the 2022 mid-terms, total
votes for congressional candidates in those and
other blue states were much closer than in 2020,
with the consequence that more of the Democrat's
generic vote was distributed to other states, and
particularly to close races.
Nevertheless, Republicans gained seats in 2022
and will, when all races are settled, have enough
to control the U.S. House of Representatives,
which was one of their two primary goals.
One senate contest is still too close to call.
Georgia will go to a December 6 run-off. The
end result for the Republicans will be the status
quo: control by the Democrats.
Some states had electoral wipeouts. Minnesota
went almost completely blue (except for 4 of their
8 congressional seats), and neighboring Iowa
went completely red, including all of its U.S. house
seats. Republicans gained four seats each in
Florida and New York. Democrats held on to
most of their vulnerable house and senate seats
Democrats picked up governorships in Maryland
and Massachusetts, but both of these states are
very blue. Their outgoing term-limited GOP
incumbents were an anomaly. Republicans picked
up a governor in previously blue Nevada, and
Democrats gained a governor in Arizona. The
majority of state legislators are still Republican.
In short, no GOP rout, but a small red wave with
a blue breakwater. There was something for both
Republicans and Democrats to cheer about, as
well as each had their disappointments.
Now the 2024 presidential election cycle begins.
Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.