Analysis: Could House Democrats lose 70 seats this fall?

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CNN

Last month, Newt Gingrich made a bold (and seemingly crazy) prediction about the midterm elections.

“I think we’re going to win between 25 and 70 seats in the House,” the former Republican House Speaker said. said in an interview with Fox.

Seventy seats! That would not only eclipse the 63-seat gain Republicans made in the 2010 midterm elections, but would also be the biggest seat change in the House since 1948.

Gingrich, as he often does, was probably just riffing – going for an impossibly high cap on Republican earnings to grab headlines and attention.

Which, well, mission accomplished.

Gingrich’s cap of 70 seats is way beyond where nonpartisan political handicappers are — at least for now. David Wasserman, the editor of the House Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, predicts that Republicans will win between 20 and 35 seats. Nathan Gonzales internal elections has yet to release its lineup – it will arrive next week – but says, “Republicans are well positioned to win a majority.”

New data from Gallup suggests that the national political environment is arguably worse for Democrats than it was in 2010, raising at least the possibility that the party could suffer even greater losses than currently expected.

As Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones and Lydia Saad write:

“The President’s party typically loses U.S. House seats in midterm elections — an average of 23 since 1974. However, 2022 is not shaping up to be an average year. Instead, in May, Gallup finds presidential job approval and three other key national mood indicators well below historical averages measured in recent midterm election years. Those numbers alone would all predict an above-average seat loss for the Democratic Party this fall.

A look at the Gallup Data – which examines presidential approval, congressional approval, satisfaction with the country’s leadership and overall judgment of economic conditions – reveals that the environment that was measured in May closely resembles that of the end of cycle 2010.

Consider:

2022

Biden approval: 41%

Congressional approval: 18%

Satisfaction in the United States: 16%

Economic conditions (net): -32

2010

Obama’s approval: 45%

Congressional approval: 21%

American satisfaction: 22%

Economic conditions (net): -31

Pretty similar, right? On the contrary, the national political environment – ​​as understood through these four factors – is worse for Democrats today than it was in 2010.

Now, before you sign up for Gingrich’s 70-seat prediction, it’s worth considering that:

a) The last two national redistricting processes (in 2011 and 2021) have generally created safer constituencies that are virtually certain to elect a party member.

b) The 2020 election, in which Republicans won 12 House seats, likely caps the ceiling on GOP gains since some of the lower fruit has already been, uh, picked.

To be very clear here: a Republican gain of 70 seats in the fall looks even more like a Gingrich fever dream than a factual possibility. But like Gallup concludes: “The current Democratic majority in Congress faces an extremely unfavorable electoral environment.”

Point: Democrats are in as bad a shape as they have been at this point in a midterm election as they have been for many decades. And what’s worse about the party is that there’s no obvious event or series of events that could (or will) change things.

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