The midterm elections were supposed to be the time for the opposition to shine.
This is especially true when there is once-in-a-lifetime inflation and when a vast majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.
Instead, President Joe Biden and the Democrats are well placed to secure one of the four best midterm elections of the past century by a party that controls the White House.
So what just happened?
The Republican Party’s “candidate problem”
Analysts, including me, have noted that Republicans appear to have a candidate likability issue. Polls before the election showed negative net approval ratings for Republicans in all key races. Democrats are generally more popular than their opponents.
Many of those Republicans were endorsed by former President Donald Trump and falsely claimed — at least at one point — that they believed he won the 2020 election.
Exit polls confirm Republicans’ “candidate problem.” Democrats say the same.
We also saw this in the gubernatorial election. Republicans nominate 2020 deniers for governors of several blue or swing states. None of them were projected to be winners, with only Arizona Republican Carri Lake having any chance of winning.
two presidents on the road
At the national level, there are two presidents in the spotlight: the current president (Biden) and the former president (Trump). Both have negative net favorable ratings, according to exit polls.
The fact that the current and former presidents are unpopular is not uncommon.
Unusually, 40% of the 18% who viewed neither Biden nor Trump favorably in the exit polls voted Democrat. The backlash against one president this year may have been outweighed by the backlash against another.
“Abortion first” voters
Arguably, what really sets this midterm apart is the abortion. Despite high inflation, only 31 percent of voters in exit polls said it was the most important issue on their votes. Nearly the same percentage (27%) said abortion, and those voters overwhelmingly chose the Democratic candidate for Congress.
It’s the same as we were in overturning Roe v. Wade in June. Democrats are starting to do much better than they did before the Supreme Court ruling.
Read more here.