Friday, September 30, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: How Will Mid-Terms Turn Out?

The long-brewing 2022 national mid-term elections are

now only a few weeks away, and expectations are high for

Democratic and Republican partisans with control of both

houses of Congress at stake.

Depending on who is read or listened to in the punditocracy,

there are grounds for optimism on both sides, but the

long season of widely differing and controversial polling

now enters a period of relative sober results as pollsters

and pundits who themselves are not partisan seek to

foresee what voters will do when they actually cast votes.

There was at the outset of the cycle a commonplace

anticipation, in light of President Biden’s chronic 

disapproval, of a red (Republican) wave in U.S. house

and senate races, accompanied by gains of the already

dominate GOP control of most state governments.

Over the summer, however, President Biden’s numbers,

still in negative territory, rose; the U.S. superme court

overturned Roe vs. Wade, returning the abortion issue to

the individual states; and a U.S. senate stalemate was

broken, enabling the passage of a trillion dollar plus

spending legislaion — all perceived by Democrats as

game changers in voter mood, as was the strategy of 

making former President Donald Trump a campaign


Until Labor Day, there were some polls which indicated

that some vulnerable Democratic candidates, especially in

U,S, senate races, had significantly improved their 2022

prospects, reinforcing the new Democratic optimism.

Since Labor Day the news has become mixed. State

races for governor and legislative candidates remained

positive for Republicans who are still expected to pick up

a few governorships, state constitutional officers and state

legislators.  Red wave results in U.S. house races seem

also likely — although the forecasts for GOP gains still

vary widely. Control of the U.S. senate, now split 50 to 50,

with Democratic Vice President Harris giving her party

control, remains, however, uncertain — with new polling

indicating up to 11 seats, six with Democratic incumbents,

five with Republican incumbents, as toss-ups.

Each mid-term cycle has its own set of issues and 

political circumstances.  When an incumbent president

and his policies are net unfavorable, as they, are now,

the results are almost always good for the opposition

party. On the other hand, when the leader of the 

opposition is a lightning rod for disapproval, the impact

on voters can be mixed. The abortion issue brings out

partisans of both sides, and perhaps helps Democrats

more, but the economy, battered by inflation, gives

Republicans an important advantage.

All polls are inexact, some are indeed erroneous, but the

polls close to the election usually are more accurate than

earlier in the cycle, and from mid-October on could signal

2022 voter mood and direction. Voters are now paying

much more attention to the election, candidate and party

advertising is filling airwaves and mailboxes, and political

strategies have been decided.

It now depends, as it always does, on which party’s voters

are most motivated, and which party wins the most

independent voters.


Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved. 

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