Republicans' Chances of Beating Democrats With 3 Months to Midterms

As inflation continues to negatively affect Americans' view of the economy and the presidency, some polls indicate that the originally perceived Republican stronghold on the November midterms is not as sturdy as it was just a couple of months ago.

An originally dreary midterm election outlook for Democrats may be salvaged due to recently passed legislation on guns, in addition to heightened momentum in response to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. Democrats have started closing the gap with Republicans in polls, and some polls even favor Democrats keeping control of the Senate.

The Real Clear Politics generic congressional outlook favors Republicans by just one-tenth of a point. CBS News and Emerson polls conducted in July also favored the GOP this November by 2 points and 1 point, respectively, while Economist/YouGov, Monmouth University and Politico/Morning Consult polls conducted between July 28 and August 2 leaned Democrat by 5, 3 and 2 points, respectively.

In late July, FiveThirtyEight projections showed that Democrats for the first time edged out Republicans in terms of winning the Senate. New projections simulating the election 40,000 times showed Democrats as "slightly favored" in the Senate while the GOP was favored to take back the House.

"The national environment is quite poor for Democrats," FiveThirtyEight Editor-In-Chief Nate Silver wrote, acknowledging that the party in control of the presidency has lost House seats in all but two of the past 21 midterm elections.

He argued that the Supreme Court's decisions on abortion and firearms may have provided a life preserver of sorts to the Democratic Party. The recent ballot initiative in Kansas to preserve abortion rights statewide may be just a precursor.

"In striking down Roe and other popular laws like restrictions against the concealed carry of firearms, the Supreme Court has in some ways undermined one of the traditional reasons that the president's party tends to lose seats at the midterms," Silver said. "Typically, voters like some degree of balance: They do not want one party to have unfettered control of all levers of government."

Democrats were more trusted when it comes to gun violence, abortion rights and climate change. However, Republicans were more trusted on the majority of key issues, including the economy.

A new ABC News/Ipsos survey found that projected voters have more faith in the GOP handling seven out of 11 key issues, including the economy, crime, inflation, immigration, the Russia-Ukraine war, gas prices and taxes.

Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray wrote in early July that for the first time in the past five years, more than 4 in 10 survey respondents said they were "struggling to remain where they are financially" and less than one in 10 Americans identified their situation as improving.

Brian Kemp Midterm Election Georgia
Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp is in a tight race with Democrat Stacey Abrams ahead of the November election. Above, Kemp speaks during his primary night election party at the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame on May 24 in Atlanta. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Gubernatorial races nationwide are a mixed bag, according to FiveThirtyEight. Democratic incumbents in swing or "purple" states, like Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Tony Evers in Wisconsin, remain favored to win. However, the same goes for Republicans Brian Kemp in Georgia and Greg Abbott in Texas.

Democrat Josh Shapiro is favored to defeat Republican Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania.

Politico, which in May forecasted the Senate as leaning Republican, identified key gubernatorial and Senate races in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia as true battlegrounds this November.

In Arizona, Donald Trump-backed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake—who has repeatedly called President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory fraudulent and has said she would have decertified the state's election results—is facing off against Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

The Cook Political Report and FiveThirtyEight have said that Lake, who in the primary defeated Mike Pence-backed Karrin Taylor Robson, surely has a chance to win. However, Hobbs remains "slightly favored," according to FiveThirtyEight.

If Republicans take control of Congress, they would likely be able to stymie any potential legislation related to Biden's agenda and hinder Democrats in 2024. Maintaining Senate control would allow Democrats to further pursue additional promises made by Biden during his presidential campaign.