Just How Much Trouble Are the Democrats In? These Polls Give You a Clue

Midterm elections are just over four months away, and with the Fourth of July celebrations behind them, Democrats and Republicans will focus on November's crucial contests.

Democrats' prospects appear bleak and they are in a worse position now than at the same time during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, according to analysis from poll tracker FiveThirtyEight.

FiveThirtyEight analyzes a large number of polls and uses its own system of pollster ratings to determine its figures. Those polls include surveys from Gallup, Morning Consult, Rasmussen, Ipsos and many other well-regarded polling companies and give an indication of how much trouble Democrats may be in.

If Republicans can retake the House of Representatives, the Senate or both, they will effectively be able to stymie Democratic President Joe Biden's agenda for the two years leading up to the next presidential election.

FiveThirtyEight's analysis showed Republicans with 44.8 percent support on the generic congressional ballot of July 4, while Democrats enjoyed support from 42.8 percent of Americans.

That's a lead of just 2 percent, but it could prove crucial in competitive races and given the fact that margins in the House and Senate are so close. The Senate is currently divided 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris providing a key tie-breaking vote on several issues.

Democrats are in a significantly worse position than they were at the same time two years ago. On July 4, 2020, they had 49.2 percent support in FiveThirtyEight's generic congressional ballot compared to 40.4 percent for Republicans.

The party retained control of the House of Representatives in November 2020 as then-candidate Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the presidential election. Democrats then gained a razor-thin majority in the Senate by winning two elections in Georgia in January 2021.

In 2018, Democrats regained control of the House during Trump's first and only set of midterm elections, though Republicans maintained their majority in the Senate. On July 4, 2018, Democrats had 47 percent support to Republicans' 39.8 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.

However, Trump is neither in office nor on the ballot in 2022 and the serving president's party tends to do poorly during midterm elections, with an average loss of 23 seats in midterms since 1974.

The biggest single loss was under then-President Barack Obama in 2010, when the Democrats gave up 63 seats in the House. It remains to be seen what potential Democratic losses will be in November.

Meanwhile, Trump has offered a series of endorsements to GOP candidates, and Biden has repeatedly referred to "ultra MAGA" Republicans as part of a messaging strategy aimed at GOP candidates closely associated with Trump.

Biden's approval rating also remains in negative territory with FiveThirtyEight's analysis showing that just 39.2 percent of Americans approved the job he was doing as of July 1, while 55.9 percent disapproved.

Those figures are also worse than Trump's figures for the same period of his presidency as 41.8 percent approved of him on July 1, 2018, compared to disapproval of 53.3 percent.

Nonetheless, the president's popularity is only one factor in voters' intentions in November.

The economy and high inflation are likely to be major issues and it remains to be seen how a recent Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade could affect voter enthusiasm—particularly among Democrats and independents who may be dissatisfied with the high court's decision.

Joe Biden
The dome of the U.S. Capitol Building flies the American flag with President Joe Biden inset. Democrats' prospects in midterm elections appear bleak based on recent polling. Getty