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With just a week left until the 2022 midterm elections, the political environment appears to be eroding rapidly for Democrats – especially in areas where the party has long held sway.
“The scariest Halloween reality for House Democrats is the number of seats President [Joe] Biden carried comfortably in 2020 that are at genuine risk a week out,” wrote Dave Wasserman, the House editor at the Cook Report with Amy Walter, a nonpartisan campaign tipsheet.
To that end, Wasserman shifted race ratings for 10 Democratic-held seats into more jeopardy – including three apiece in the Democratic redoubts of California and New York.
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On the same day Wasserman made his changes, Gallup released a report that suggests the political winds are all blowing in Republicans’ direction.
The numbers are daunting for Democrats:
* Just 40% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president.
* Only 17% express satisfaction with how things are going in the US.
* 49% say the state of the economy is “poor.”
* A meager 21% approve of the job the Democratic-led Congress is doing.
As Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones and Lydia Saad note:
“Current ratings of the U.S. economy and national satisfaction are the lowest Gallup has measured at the time of a midterm election over the life of these polling trends, starting in 1994 and 1982, respectively. Congressional and presidential job approval are near their historical low marks.”
Any one of those numbers would set off warning signals for the party in power in Washington. Combine all of them – and consider that we are just seven days from the election – and it appears as though Republicans are on the verge of a major national victory.
What has to be most concerning for Democrats is that these conditions appear to be threatening not only candidates long considered vulnerable due to the partisan nature of their districts, but also those who had been considered to be on safer ground to this point.
As we have seen with past wave elections – 1994, 2010 and 2018 – some of those candidates are caught unawares by a national political environment that is fare less hospitable to their side than they initially imagined.
That appears to be exactly what is happening in at least a handful of blue districts in blue states. And it may be too late for Democrats to course correct.
The Point: In order for Republicans to reach the higher end – 25 House seats or more – that political handicappers are suggesting they could win, they have to be competitive in places where Donald Trump did not perform terribly well in 2020. That appears to be happening.