A Good Week of Politics and Polling for Dems (10/10/22)

This post was updated on 10/6.

Our summary of what we are seeing this week: 

  • Weekly generic tracking polls show Dems gaining ground
  • Biden’s job approval hits its highest mark this year
  • GA meltdown, good polling in PA makes Rs path here hard
  • Dems still in the Senate game in NC, OH, WI
  • Dem candidates had huge 3rd quarter cash halls
  • Analysts see the House up for grabs, Cook moved 7 House races towards Dems
  • 3 new polls show Rs underperforming with Hispanics
  • Surge of women registering/voting has continued, could be Dem sleeper vote

Let’s drill down on a few of these points.  All of this polling and data can be found on 538.  You can find more in this new, related thread and in our core 2022 Election Analysis, 5 Weeks To Go It’s A Very Competitive Election.

The Weekly Tracks Show Dem Gains

Five new weekly generic tracking polls show Democrats gaining, no GOP momentum: 

Politico/MC      45-43 to 46-43 Dems (+1) 

Econ/YouGov  46-47 to 47-46 (+2) 

Reuters/Ipsos  34-33 to 37-32 (+4) 

Morn Cons       48-44 to 49-44 (+1) 

Rasmussen      42-44 to 44-45 (+1)

From Morning Consult’s new analysis: “Congressional Democrats are seeing their widest lead on the generic ballot among LIKELY voters since tracking began in August. And for the third week in a row, Dems are more likely than Republicans to express a high level of enthusiasm about voting.”

The bottom line – the election is very close with whatever small shift the Rs got two weeks ago subsiding, and not significant enough to fundamentally alter the trajectory of the election.  Dems on balance had a very good week of Senate polling and enter the home stretch likely to keep the Senate. The House remains close and could end up turning on campaign performance in a few races.  If Dems can pick up another point or two in the final weeks they will have a very good election.  Our counsel is that Dems need to close by emphasizing how America is better off under our leadership, contest Rs advantage on the economy.  We’ve done a good job these last two years and need to say so (here’s our new look at the very strong October jobs report). 

Biden’s Approval Hits Highest Mark in 2022, Up 11.5 Points In Recent Months

Using the 538 aggregate, as of publication Biden is 44.3-51.6 (-7.3), up 11,5 points from his nadir of 38.2-56.9 (-18.7).  This is a very significant development in the election.  

New GA, PA Polling Makes GOP Path In the Senate Very Hard To See

Two new PA polls, USA Today and Monmouth, have Fetterman up 6 and 5 points.  But the real news in both polls is that Oz remains in the low 40s, and with negatives in the 50s.  Any reasonable analyst looking at these polls would conclude Oz does not have a path to victory.  His negatives are just too high.  He may close the gap some but a path to 50% just isn't here. 

In GA Warnock has a 4 pt lead in the 538 averages, and a new local poll conducted by GOP firm Insider Advantage has Warnock gaining 6 points in recent weeks, going from 44-47 to 47-44.  Another poll with interviews after the Walker meltdown has Warnock up 50-38.  This race appears to be slipping away from the GOP. 

Below are 538’s current Senate averages.  Note that Dems are much further ahead in GA and PA than Rs are in NC, OH, WI.  If Dems keep both GA and PA they keep the Senate.  Given the data below another hold or pick up is not out of the realm of the possible.  

GOP Held Seats: IA - 7, FL - 5, WI - 2, NC - 1, OH +2, PA +7

Dem Held Seat - NV - 1, GA +4, AZ +6, NH +8, CO +9, WA +10

Dems Have A Real Shot at Keeping the House 

The latest Fox News poll has Dems up 3 points, and in their model that would translate to Dems keeping the House.  The new Economist model has the fight for control of the House essentially tied.  538’s Lite model gives Dems a 40% chance of keeping the House. The Cook Report moved 7 House races towards the Democrats today. And in a new NYTimes column, “It’s Time To Take Democrats’ Chances in the House Seriously,” Nate Cohn writes: 

“The idea that Democrats can hold the House is not as ridiculous, implausible or far-fetched as it seemed before the Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v. Wade. It is a real possibility — not some abstraction in the sense that anything can happen.

In fact, not much would need to happen at all.

If the polls are “right” and Election Day were today, the fight for the House would be very close. It would be a district-by-district battle for control, one in which the race might come down to the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates and campaigns. With a few lucky breaks, Democrats could come out ahead….

Democrats hold a narrow lead on the generic congressional ballot, a poll question asking whether voters would prefer Democrats or Republicans for Congress. If Republicans don’t have a robust structural advantage, as I wrote last Friday, then why wouldn’t the Democrats at least be competitive in the race for Congress? On paper, the Democratic disadvantage is fairly comparable to their disadvantage in the Senate — which most everyone agrees Democrats have a decent chance to hold this cycle.”

Rs underperforming with Hispanic voters 

For all the bluster about the Hispanic vote, a bevy of new Hispanic polls should worry Republicans.  As Simon writes in a new analysis, Trump received about 37% of the Hispanic vote in 2020.  In three new national polls Republicans are at 31%, 6 points underneath Trump.  In Texas a new Telemundo poll has Abbott at 31% with Hispanics. He received 42% in 2018 and Trump got 41% in 2020.  These results are similar to large sample Future Majority Hispanic polls which showed GOP candidates well under Trump’s 2020 numbers in AZ, NV and PA.  To be clear these are not good poll results for Republicans with Hispanics this late in the cycle.  

Additionally, throughout the heavily Mexican-American parts of the US, Democrats are running at or above recent elections in statewide elections with all voters.  In AZ Kelly is running ahead of his 2020 numbers and Katie Hobbs is 15-18 points ahead of our 2018 gubernatorial candidate.  In CA Newsom is running 5-7 pts ahead of his 2018 results.  In Colorado Polis is running 10 pts ahead of 2018, Bennett 5 pts ahead of 2016.  In New Mexico Gov. Lujan-Grisham will not match her 2018 numbers but still has a comfortable single digit lead.  In Nevada the races are within margin of error, where it was in the last 3 elections at this point.  In Texas Abbott’s lead is 5-7 pts.  He won by 13 in 2018 and 21 in 2014.  

In 2020 Democrats had their best year ever in the Southwest.  We won all 4 battleground states - AZ/CO/NM/NV – for the 1st time in 80 years.  We now control all 8 Senate seats and 14 of 23 House seats in these 4 states, gains of 5 Senate seats and 7 House seats in recent years.  Our numbers in this region this year are at or above our very strong 2020 showing.  So where is the evidence that the Rs stronger showing with Hispanics is changing the political map outside Florida? There isn’t any today.  In fact 2022 may be the Democratic Party’s best year ever in AZ/CA/CO/NM/NV/TX in decades, particularly if Nevada manages to come home for us. 

The Surge of Women Voting, Registering – It’s A Big Deal 

Tom Bonier of TargetSmart has been tracking the surge of women voting and registering to vote since the end of Roe. That surge helped Democrats overperform their 2020 results in 5 recent House specials by 7 points, and more in Kansas. As you will see in his latest graph below, which tracks registration from June 24 in 2020 and 2022 on, there has been an enormous surge in women registering to vote across the country and in many battleground states.  It’s our joint belief, as we discussed in our recent NDN conversation, that it is likely that many current polls have not adequately updated their weighting to account for these changes and could be significantly underestimating the Democratic vote, as what happened in the House specials and Kansas.