The midterm elections should be a time for the opposition to shine.
This is especially true when there is a once-in-a-lifetime inflation and the vast majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.
Instead, President Joe Biden and Democrats are well placed to have one of the four best midterms for the party that controlled the White House in the last century.
So what just happened?
The GOP’s “candidate problem”
Analysts, including myself, point out that Republicans seem to have a problem with their candidate’s popularity. Pre-election polls showed negative net approval ratings for Republicans across all key races. Democrats are generally more popular than their opponents.
Many of these Republicans had the backing of former President Donald Trump and falsely claimed — at least for a moment — that they thought he won the 2020 election.
Exit polls confirm Republicans’ “candidate problem.” The same goes for Democrats.
We saw this in the gubernatorial election as well. Republicans nominated a number of blue or swing states for governor’s 2020 election deniers. None of them are considered winners, and only Arizona Republican Cary Lake has a 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 previous president (Trump). Both have a negative net positive rating, according to exit polls.
The fact that both current and former presidents are unpopular is not unusual.
Unusually, 40% of the 18% who did not like Biden or Trump in the exit poll voted Democrat. Backlash against one president this year may have been offset by backlash against another.
‘Abortion First’ Voters
Arguably, what really makes this midterm unique is abortion. Despite high inflation, only 31% of voters in the exit poll said it was the most important issue in their vote. Nearly the same percentage (27%) said abortion, and those voters overwhelmingly chose the Democratic nominee for Congress.
This is with us in overturning Roe v. June Wade. Democrats are starting to do much better than they were before the Supreme Court ruling.
Read more here.