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Yet Another Poll Highlights Republicans Up in Battleground District, With Issues That Matter Most

AP Photo/J. David Ake

Polls consistently show that Republicans remain favored to at least take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in these upcoming midterm elections. This is the case even as Democrats appear to be making some gains. It's worth reminding, though, that polls in previous years underestimated Republican gains. When it comes to the predicted win for House Republicans, this includes battleground districts, as a recent AARP poll covered. 

On Sunday, CBS News released a new Battleground Tracker poll, which Sarah covered at the time, highlighting how Republicans are favored to gain control with a majority of at least 25 seats. The current projection has them at 230 seats, with Democrats at 205 seats.

Currently, Democrats have 220 seats, while Republicans have 211 seats, leaving them with a majority of just 9 seats. Three of the four vacancies are Republicans. 

As a write-up for CBS News noted on Sunday morning, "Control of Congress is won and lost in districts, of course, so to bring you this estimate we've surveyed tens of thousands of voters across them all, and connected their current preferences to the 2020 Census, district data and millions of voter records to estimate seat counts. That makes it a picture of things today, not a forecast; it's July, not November."

In addition of how many seats each party will have after the midterm elections, the poll offers some deep dive analysis as to why Republicans are favored to win.

The poll considers it to be a "nature of the times" election, at least for right now. "Voters' top decision criteria right now is "the way things are in the country" and that's lousy news for Democrats, as the party in power. Republicans are up 16 points among those saying they're basing their vote a lot on it. Those saying things are going very badly break heavily Republican," the poll's write-up mentioned. 

That's certainly putting it politely. Poll after poll shows Americans are not satisfied with the track the country is on right now, with some polls even having record lows of respondents saying the country is on the right track. A Monmouth poll released last month showed just 10 percent of respondents feel we're on the right country. 

RealClearPolitics (RCP) indicates that just 18 percent think the country is on the right track, while 74.7 percent think it's going in the wrong direction. 

The poll also showed 74 percent of likely voters are basing their vote on the "way things are in the country" right now. 

Even more damning for Democrats is that their base voters may just sit the election out. 

"Like typical midterm electorates, this one is shaping up to be older and more conservative than the country as a whole. Our likely voter estimates indicate that as of now there are more 2020 Trump voters than Biden voters planning to vote this year, an obvious reversal from the last general election," CBS News' write-up notes. 

The AARP poll mentioned above, which I covered last week, often honed in on older voters over the age of 50, highlighting how they were even more conservative than younger voters. They're also more likely to vote.

In this election cycle, Republicans have a 4 percentage point advantage over Democrats, at 38-34 percent when it comes to the estimated party affiliation of the 2022 electorate. Twenty-seven percent are independents.

Democratic voters may sit these midterm elections out based on the economy, where Republicans have a significant advantage. A majority of likely voters, at 54 percent who those who say that inflation is "very important" when it comes to their vote favor Republicans, while just 35 percent favor Democrats, providing Republicans with a double-digit lead on this key issue.

As the write-up notes when comparing previous midterm elections on this issue:

In the last midterm elections, in 2018, the party out of power (then, the Democrats) also won the votes of those who said the economy was bad. The trouble for Democrats now is that far more voters today say the economy is bad — and this time Democrats are in power.

Independents who cite economy and inflation as top concerns plan to vote for a Republican this fall. Independents who say the economy is bad break Republican.

The poll also highlights how President Joe Biden himself may impact the midterms. Biden has been hovering around an average approval rating of 37-38 percent according to recent RCP average approval ratings, with multiple polls showing him reaching his lowest approval rating.

The president's party almost always loses seats during his first midterm election, with his approval rating often playing a role. And, as was mentioned above, Democrats already have a narrow majority in the House, as well as in the U.S. Senate, which is regarded as a "toss-up" when it comes to who will control that body.

While 62 percent of Republicans say that their vote is "a lot" to do with Biden," just a plurality of Democrats say so, at 39 percent. 

"The Biden effect looks net-negative: those weighing him 'a lot' in their midterm vote are breaking Republican by two to one — maybe not a surprise given his low approval ratings," the write-up notes. While it tries to tie Republican sentiment to not believing Biden was legitimately elected president in 2020, the fact remains that Biden is regardless a deeply unpopular president. "That's driven largely by Republicans, two-thirds of whom still don't consider Mr. Biden the legitimate 2020 winner. Their negative views of him are motivating them, and they're far more likely than Democrats to say their vote is based 'a lot' on how they feel about him," the write-up continues by inserting the 2020 election into the conversation. 

Going back to Democratic voter complacency, far fewer Democrats are motivated by Biden. "Only four in 10 Democrats say their vote is based a lot on their feelings about Mr. Biden, and those who do are no likelier to be voting Democratic this year than other Democrats," the write-up notes. 

When it comes to "warning signs" for Republicans in that women voters consider the GOP to be "extreme" and trust Democrats more on the issue of abortions, multiple polls highlight that this just isn't a motivating factor for the electorate. This includes a Gallup poll, as Madeline highlighted earlier on Monday, as well as multiple FiveThirtyEight polls on top issues for the midterms. 

Pro-abortion voters are also not as motivated to vote as pro-life voters, even after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs decision, as Spencer highlighted over the weekend.  

The CBS News write-up also acknowledges that "[w]omen have at best a mixed set of descriptions for Democrats right now." Further, men, by double digits, are more likely to say they're "very enthusiastic" to vote in the upcoming midterms, with 56 percent of men saying so and 44 percent of women saying so.

As a result, women are another group that the write-up predicts might sit this one out. 

The poll was also discussed on Sunday's episode of "Face the Nation."

Cook Political Report similarly has forecast that will Republicans will gain 20-35 seats in the House. 

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