For months pundits have been predicting a “red wave” in the midterms, but recent polling data shows Democrats are gaining ground on Republicans.
Recent polling data from FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics raises the question of whether Democrats could pull a last-minute upset and cling to their Congressional majorities.
As the midterms are still two months away, an eternity in politics, the answer to the question remains unclear, yet the gains Democrats have made in a few short months are significant.
Since July 21, President Joe Biden’s approval rating has increased by 3.2 percentage points from 37.5 percent on July 21 to 40.7 percent in under a month, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling.
Although his numbers aren’t anything to write home about, the improvement — in such a short time — means that Biden could become an asset to Democrats seeking reelection.
When voters have been asked about which party they would prefer to lead Congress, Democrats have trailed Republicans by one or two percentage points since November 2021.
But Democrats have reversed that deficit, slowly overtaking Republicans in the last month. As of Saturday (August 21), Democrats lead Republicans by half a percentage point.
RealClearPolitics, which measures its data differently from FiveThirtyEight, has Democrats and Republicans tied. In November 2021, Democrats led Republicans on the “generic ballot,” but they last that lead for months, only regaining it in the last month.
The recent data underscores the belief that Republicans may not be as successful in winning back Congress. Rather, the GOP is expected to flip the House by a smaller margin than initially expected and confidence that they’ll win back the Senate has diminished significantly.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell brought up this reality in recent remarks, saying, “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”