Democrats are going into the 2022 midterm elections with more voter enthusiasm than Republicans, a new poll from Morning Consult/Politico finds. Though it’s early to be thinking about the midterm elections, Democrats and progressives are hoping they’ll be able to maintain their hold on power in Washington in order to pass legislation that has long sat dormant.
The poll of 1,992 registered voters finds that 81 percent of Democrats are at least somewhat excited about voting in the midterm elections, as opposed to only 72 percent of Republicans who feel the same. These numbers are liable to change, Morning Consult notes, as Democrats move toward passing policies that aren’t strictly pandemic-related.
Only 6 percent of Democrats polled said they were not at all enthusiastic about voting in 2022, whereas 11 percent of Republican voters said they felt the same. Republicans held a 3-point lead over Democrats among voters who were extremely enthusiastic about voting in 2022, however, at 30 and 27 percent, respectively.
The poll also found that those who voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 election were more enthusiastic about voting in the midterms than those who voted for Donald Trump. The gap between Biden voters and Trump voters was higher than the difference in enthusiasm between Democrats and Republicans; while around 82 percent of Biden voters said they were at least somewhat enthusiastic about voting in 2022, only about 70 percent of Trump voters said the same.
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Part of the reason for the enthusiasm among Democrats could be that President Biden and Democrats in Congress have thus far implemented or fought for several popular proposals — some of which are heavily influenced by progressives.
The American Rescue Plan was so popular that Republicans tried to claim credit for it even though not a single one of them voted to pass it. Meanwhile, progressive proposals like a $15 federal minimum wage, which both centrist Democrats and Republicans disapprove of, are widely popular among the public.
Though midterm elections are still over 18 months away, many candidates have begun campaign preparations as several seats that will likely be hotly contested are opening up in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. At least five Senate Republicans, four House Republicans and two House Democrats have so far announced that they will be vacating their seats, leaving them open for 2022.
Odds are against the Democrats. Midterms typically result in losses for the president’s party; it happened to Republicans under Trump and Democrats under Barack Obama. But the pandemic and the political climate have made this era incredibly uncertain for political predictions. There are several intense opposing forces at play. The popularity of Democratic and progressive proposals and the backlash to Trump could play in Democrats’ favor; but Republican voter suppression and the existing trends work against them. Some political commentators say it could be anyone’s game.
Currently, things look okay for Democrats in the Senate because of the number of Republican seats up for grabs — 20 Republican seats versus 15 Democratic ones. But things in the House are much more uncertain.
Additionally, pollsters are still reeling from lessons learned the hard way in 2016 and 2020, when polls showed Democrats winning the presidency by a landslide. Politico reported on Tuesday that pollsters are admitting that they botched predictions and are still looking into how it happened. Pollsters are vowing to never make those mistakes again — but that’s also what they said after 2016.
Another factor making this political era unique is the growing power of the left in D.C. politics. Progressives are gearing up for challenges in places like Florida and Texas, hoping to buck centrist Democrats and Republicans from their seats. A prominent progressive challenge is likely to come from Charles Booker, a racial justice advocate and former state lawmaker in Kentucky who announced this week that he has launched an exploratory committee to look into a campaign to unseat Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus meanwhile has been restructuring itself after growing pains proved to be a hindrance. Still, progressives have increasing power over Congress and even the president.