Republicans Gained More Ground in 2021 as Party Gears Up for Midterms

Republicans gained significant ground on Democrats over the course of 2021, according to new polling.

Gallup reported on Monday that Republicans went from being 9 points behind Democrats at the start of 2021 to 5 points ahead by the end of the year. In the final quarter of last year, 47 percent of respondents identified as Republicans, compared with 42 percent who said they were Democrats.

The advantages held by both parties last year are among the largest Gallup has measured in three decades.

The findings come as the GOP made significant gains in the 2021 elections. The party is now gearing up to regain control of both houses of Congress in the midterm races this November.

Republicans swept top offices in Virginia in the 2021 elections, including governor and attorney general. Their success in the state came just one year after President Joe Biden won it by double digits over Donald Trump.

The party also won local races in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In one of the biggest upsets of the past election cycle, truck driver Edward Durr, a Republican, ousted longtime Democratic state Senator Stephen Sweeney in New Jersey.

History may already be on the GOP's side, as the midterms are typically a referendum on the party in charge. Bookmakers also rate Republicans as having better odds than the Democrats in winning control of Capitol Hill next year.

The Democrats' collapse in the Gallup surveys mirrors Biden's drop in the polls. The president started the year with a 57 percent approval rating, but the final Gallup poll of the year showed that figure had fallen more than a dozen points to 43 percent.

Biden's approval rating remained steady through the first half of his presidency, but the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan and rising inflation hurt his standing among voters in the second half of the year.

Republicans Gained More Ground in 2021: Poll
Republicans went from being 9 points behind Democrats at the start of 2021 to 5 points ahead by the end of the year, according to new polling. Above, a flag at the U.S. Capitol. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

But both the Republican and Democratic campaign chairs have expressed confidence going into the 2022 cycle.

Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Spectrum News last month that he believed the party has a "really good map to defend" and that he was "optimistic" heading into the midterms.

Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Associated Press that he thinks the GOP is "going to have a hell of a year."

"As we begin 2022, I can promise this: I'll be fighting like hell against Biden and Democrats' systemic socialism and far-left policies that are destroying our financial security with massive debt, increasing government dependency and killing the American dream," Scott said in a statement.

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Berg told Newsweek: "Voters are abandoning the Democrat Party because their policies have led to rising prices, skyrocketing crime and a crisis along our southern border."

Gallup polled more than 12,000 randomly sampled U.S. adults in 13 different telephone surveys between January and December 2021. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Update 01/18/22, 2:30 p.m. ET: This story was updated with more information and background.