House Republicans' Momentum Growing Before Midterm Elections The U.S. Capitol. (Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 26 May 2022 02:15 PM
A nonpartisan handicapping service has the Republican Party gaining between 20 and 35 seats in the House chamber during the November midterm elections.
On Thursday, the "Cook Political Report with Amy Walter," announced it had moved 10 separate House races into the Republicans' favor, boosting the GOP's maximum takeover total to 35 seats.
As such, the Cook report now has 35 Democratic seats in its "toss-up" category or worse, compared to only 10 Republican seats in the same precarious position.
"Given that President Biden's job approval is underwater in dozens of districts he carried in 2020, any Democrat sitting in a single-digit Biden seat (or a Trump seat) is at severe risk and even a few in seats Biden carried by 10 to 15 points could lose — particularly in 'orphan' states without competitive statewide races driving turnout," writes David Wasserman.
The Democrats currently control the House, Senate and the presidency. But come November, the Republicans simply need a net positive of five seats to claim the majority in the House chamber, and just a net of one seat to control the Senate.
The anticipation of a Republican-led "Red Wave" throughout the House and Senate goes deeper than the White House's sluggish policies.
"While Biden's poor standing sets the stage for a national election with down ballot consequences, Democrats will try to run dozens of individual races in which their battle-tested incumbents can weather the storm by discrediting GOP candidates," wrote Nathan Gonzales and Jacob Rubashkin in a recent edition of their Inside Elections newsletter.
"Some Democrats are currently running ahead of Biden's job rating, but that isn't sustainable on a broad scale as voters focus on races and realize control of Washington is at stake. Democratic survivors in competitive districts will be the exception rather than the rule."
Inside Elections lists 21 Democratic seats in its "toss-up" categories or worse, while Republicans have just nine seats in similar peril.
There's plenty of historical evidence supporting a prediction of the majority party faring poorly in the midterms.
According to Five Thirty-Eight, since World War II, the average loss for a president's party in the midterms stands at 26 seats. That trend becomes even more untenable when the sitting president has an approval rating of less than 50%.
As Gallup noted in 2018:
"The president's party almost always suffers a net loss of U.S. House seats in midterm elections. However, losses tend to be much steeper when the president is unpopular. In Gallup's polling history, presidents with job approval ratings below 50% have seen their party lose 37 House seats, on average, in midterm elections. That compares with an average loss of 14 seats when presidents had approval ratings above 50%."
The most recent Gallup poll has President Biden's approval rating at 41%, and he hasn't been higher than 43% since last August.
The other indicator of midterm gains and losses involves generic balloting.
Last week, The Hill reported that Congressional Democrats were trailing generic Republicans by 8% in battleground districts, citing Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) internal polling.
For that internal survey, Republicans owned a 47% to 39% advantage throughout the month of April.