Analysis: Dems w/2.4 Point Lead in 17 Polls - It's A Competitive Not A Wave Election

Updated on 7/20 - Over the past month we’ve been arguing that publicly available data suggested we were looking at a competitive not a wave election. 

For this week’s election update we averaged the Congressional Generic results of 14 independent polls taken since Roe ended on June 24th, and found Democrats leading 44.1% to 41.7, +2.4 Dem.  That’s a 4-5 point shift from where the election was a month ago.

Our current 2022 election toplines: 

  • The election has moved 4-5 pts towards the Democrats, GOP brand has taken big hit
  • The anti-MAGA majority has been awakened
  • The Senate is now leaning Dem, NE House Special was encouraging for Dems
  • The landscape is likely to get worse for GOP

In May we predicted that the combination of a return of mass shootings, the ending of Roe and the fallout from the Jan 6th Committee would reawaken the anti-MAGA majority and make this election much closer than many thought possible.  In Mid June we released an election analysis which argued we were already looking at a competitive not a wave election.  Then Roe ended, and NDN has been at the national forefront of charting what is now clearly a new, bluer election.    

We’ve put together our electoral work over the past few months into a 20 minute data-filled presentation, “A New, Bluer Election.”  You can watch it here.  We also rolled out an updated version of With Democrats Things Get Better, our in-depth look at how the two US parties have fared over the past 30 years.  You can learn more and watch here.  

In recent weeks our election has analysis has been cited in articles by John Harwood on the CNN site, Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, Peter Nicholas on the NBC News site, Susan Milligan in US News, Nicholas Riccardi in the AP, Eleanor Clift in The Daily Beast, John Skolnick in Salon, AB Stoddard in The Bulwark and Peter Weber in The Week. Simon has done two in-depth discussions of our electoral thesis with Matt Lewis on his podcast and with Ian Masters for his radio show/podcast.  Joe Trippi discusses our analysis in his newest That Trippi Show podcast and we appreciate this shoutout from DNC Chair Jaime Harrison!

A front page Washington Post story on the 2022 election by Michael Scherer, Coby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey features this quote from Simon: “The question is, are there forces in the election more powerful than the disappointment in Biden?” asked Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist. “The answer is yes, and that is opposition and fear for MAGA, which is the thing that has driven the last two elections.” Ron Brownstein also gives our big argument serious consideration in a new and comprehensive CNN analysis.  Greg Sargent devotes a whole column to our analysis, "Meet the Lonely Democrat Who Thinks His Party Can Win."  This one is a particularly good read.  Kristian Ramos has a new take in Salon that includes our work, and comes down where we come down - time for Dems to go on offense now. 

Importantly, two of country’s most influential election analysts, Nate Cohn of the NYTimes and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, have joined this may be a competitive election after all camp.  Nate Silver wrote “Instead, as voters have gathered more information about the race, they have drawn more of a distinction between how they feel about Biden and what they'd like to see happen in Congress. Maybe this trend will reverse itself. But the "fundamentalists"- the analysts who think the races for Congress are predictable based on presidential approval and other baseline conditions - have been wrong so far.”

As I discuss in the Greg Sargent column, another big piece of the strategic context for the 2022 election – the economy and inflation – has started to go through a profound and potentially electorally significant change.  Gas prices have dropped 45 cents in the past month and are dropping now 2-3 cents a day, every day.  This means that the huge psychological and economic effects of rising prices will certainly ease in the coming months.  It gives the Democrats an opening to broaden out the economic conversation to include their achievements – very strong recovery, big job gains, record new businesses formed, historically low uninsured/unemployment rates, infrastructure investments, etc.  And it will create more room for Democratic candidates to make the indictment of their opponents as too extreme, too MAGA.  As we’ve been saying, opposition to MAGA has been the driving force of the last two elections, and with mass shootings, the end of Roe and fanatical abortion restrictions, a radicalized Supreme Court, extremist/terrible candidates, an unfolding criminal conspiracy involving dozens of top Republican officials to overturn an election it is now likely to be the most powerful force in this election as well.  When the Republicans chose to run towards a politics the country had just rejected in record numbers twice, the GOP made the political physics of this election different from a traditional midterm.  It’s our view that as of today the Senate is likely to stay in Democratic hands; a pickup of a 1-2-3 Senate seats by Dems not impossible; and Democrats are likely to outperform expectations in the House now.  Will it be enough for Democrats to keep the House? We will see.  

The 14 Independent Polls Rated A/B from 538, Democrat/Republican

Economist/YouGov           43-40

Politico/Morn Cons           45-41

CNBC/Hart                       42-44

Big Village                         45-41

Yahoo/YouGov                  43-39

Economist/YouGov           43-40

NYT/Siena                        41-40

Politico/Morn Cons           46-42

Reuters/Ipsos                   34-35

YouGov/Economist           43-40

Big Village                        47-42

Harvard/Harris                  50-50

Emerson                           43-46

YouGov/Yahoo                 45-38

Monmouth                        46-48

Politico/Morn Cons           45-42

NPR/Marist                       48-41

For the purposes of this analysis, we do not include 5 partisan Republican polls, which are not independent polls and which, incredibly, show the GOP leading by 6.4 pts.. It is our guess that GOP pollsters, even those well intentioned, will struggle for a while to understand the very significant changes happening inside the Democratic electorate.  The likely explanation for how these polls could be 9-10 points off from 17 highly rated 538 polls is that they are holding on to a pre-Roe likely voter screen which has lower participation rates for Democrats.  We know from months of polling that ending Roe would significantly change voter intensity inside the Democratic electorate, and failure to account for and understand these changes by a pro-life party which has far fewer women and young people in its coalition is not something that should surprise anyone.  Republican after Republican commentator has said these last few weeks changes nothing.  They are clearly wrong, and these polls are also clearly wrong.

It is a new, bluer election.