It Looks Like the Republican Wave Is Coming In!
When you look around at the political scene, less than a week from the 2022 midterm elections, what do you see?
You see poll numbers trending toward a wave victory for Republicans. They now lead by 3 points in the generic vote for the House among likely voters, while FiveThirtyEight has flipped to show them with a 53% chance for a Senate majority.
Polls in key statewide races have shown Republican gains since Labor Day. And even the mildly encouraging results for Democrats in New York Times-Siena College polls in close House races were undercut three days later, when New York Times analyst Nate Cohn revealed there was a "wide disparity in Democratic and Republican response rates."
Meanwhile, as Democrats have pointed out, you see many more poll numbers from partisan Republican pollsters than partisan Democratic pollsters. But there's a reason for that. As Republican pollster Bill McInturff argued, partisan pollsters and campaign clients don't release unfavorable numbers. That's an indication that Democrats have no good news to share.
What you don't see a lot of is former President Donald Trump. He has held a few big rallies in states with close races. Earlier in the cycle, he endorsed primary winners who were predicted to be weak general election candidates, but who, you can see, are running competitive races.
And you don't see a whole lot of President Joe Biden, who turns 80 in three weeks and is campaigning far less in his first midterm elections than Trump did at 72 or former President Barack Obama did at 49. Biden has mostly stayed on heavily Democratic turf -- in New York and Maryland, with a stop for the gubernatorial candidate in Oregon, a race Democrats haven't lost in 40 years.
He has avoided campaigning in three states -- Arizona, Nevada and Georgia -- whose Senate contests may well determine the majority in that chamber. In the Obama-Biden states of Wisconsin and Ohio, he's been avoided or renounced by the Democratic Senate nominees he was supposed to help.
Biden appeared in a Philadelphia fundraiser for Senate nominee John Fetterman three days after his disastrous Oct. 25 debate appearance. But the two post-debate polls show Fetterman losing the lead he had enjoyed over Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. It seems unlikely that Biden's Florida appearance this week will help trailing Democrats overtake "MAGA Republican" Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
As for Vice President Kamala Harris, she joined Biden in Philadelphia and is slated to appear in Massachusetts for the governor nominee, who leads in the polls by a 25-point margin. Despite her assignment to handle the border, she's apparently not headed to the Rio Grande Valley, where Democrats could lose three historically safe Hispanic-majority House seats.
You can also see what is going on when you look at where the flows of money have gone. With its increasing support from affluent white college graduates, Democrats have had little difficulty raising large sums of money for incumbent senators whose standing has not improved. They have also shelled out cash for governor candidates with exultant national media coverage, such as Beto O'Rourke in Texas and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, who are trailing embarrassingly in their races.