Memo: On This 2022 Election Eve Would Rather Be Us Than Them

So I just published an updated analysis of the 2022 election with a day to go. My bottom line – it’s a close, competitive election.  Dems have checked all of what Tom Bonier calls the recent intensity boxes – strong performance in 5 House specials/Kansas, spiked voter registration post-Dobbs, far superior candidate fundraising, big early vote performance.  Rs haven’t checked any of these intensity boxes. Polls and early vote on balance have been far better for Dems in recent days than Rs.  A red wave may be coming but it is not here yet. 

Heading into Election Day I'd rather be us than them.

You can catch me talking about the 2022 elections in a new Politico Playbook Deep Dive interview with Ryan Lizza; a new Deep State Radio podcast with Cecile Richards; a MSNBC segment with Joy Reid; a Meidas Touch pod; a NoLie pod with Brian Tyler Cohen; and a memorable chat with the venerable Rick Wilson.  You can find all of these via this link

Let's get to the meat of the analysis:

Dems Lead 50-39 In The Early Vote, Now With 4.4m Vote Lead

Using TargetEarly, the official data source for NBC News, we know the early vote is running between 8-10% higher than 2018, an election which had the highest turnout in almost 100 years.  Dems are running way above both 2018 and 2020, something which is a very direct challenge to the red wave narrative.  This is how the vote breaks down at this point in the last 3 elections, D/R:

2018 – 46%-45% (+1) – 600k Dem vote lead

2020 – 48%-41% (+7) -  n/a

2020 – 50%-39% (+11) – 4.4m Dem vote lead

It should be noted this 11 point lead is with an electorate older and whiter than 2018 and 2020, and with two of the nation’s largest states, CA/FL seeing drop offs for Dems from 2020.  All of this is very good news for Democrats.

Last night, citing the strong Dem performance in the early vote, famed journalist John Ralston called Nevada for Senator Cortez Masto.  In what must be concerning to Republicans here is a list of states where Dems are currently doing better relative to 2020 than Dems are in Nevada right now: AZ, GA, MI, MN, IA, IN, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TX, VA, WA, WI.  To be clear that means the early Dem vote “firewall” that led Ralston to call Nevada is actually bigger in all these states.  This too is good news for Democrats.

The Washington Post has a new story today from Arizona today, “Some in the party worry their assaults on early voting could ultimately suppress GOP turnout,” where questions have begun to be raised about why Rs decided to try to turn their voters out on a single day rather than over 2-3 weeks, as Democrats are doing. It’s a good question, as having more time to turn out voters in an election with far more irregular voters is kind of a no-brainer. The weeks Dems have had to turn out our voters has built powerful early vote leads in these states that may just be too big for the Rs to match tomorrow, particularly if their enthusiasm for voting has waned, as this new NBC News poll finds.

In the past week many states have seen big Dem gains as our field operations kicked in, but the one which moved the most was Texas.  Beto’s field army is doing something remarkable, as two years ago at this point Rs had an 11 point lead in the early vote in an election Biden only lost by 5 points. Today Beto is only down 2, a 9 point improvement over 2020.  Win or lose Beto has run a remarkable campaign in a very tough state.

In another worrisome bit of data for the Rs the variance from the final early vote results and the final election results in 2018 and 2020 was 2-4 points.  Tomorrow Dems will enter Election Day with an 11 point lead, meaning Rs will have to have an Election Day turnout many magnitudes better than either party in the last two elections.  Can it be done? We will find out.

Recent Polls Show Dems Up in the Generic and Favored to Win the Senate

The polls have actually been pretty good for Dems in the last few weeks, far better than is current conventional wisdom.  In the past week Dems have shown rising intensity and performance, as the early vote came in 3 points more Democratic relative to 2020 today than a week ago.  The last 7 non-partisan generics on 538 show a similar trend, having Dems up an average of 1.4 points:

Economist/YouGov   48-49

Politico/Morn Cons   48-43

NBC News                48-47

ABC/WaPo               48-50

Big Village                50-46

Yahoo/YouGov         46-44

Reuters/Ipsos           37-36

Even the GOP pollster Rasmussen showed the Dems picking up 2 points in their latest national track.  Many of the recent national polls showing Rs with 3-4 leads had Republicans with greater vote intensity, something many polls have not found, and is certainly something we are not seeing in the early vote. The new daily track of the highly regarded firm Civiqs has Dems gaining a few points in recent days and closing 2020 with Dems up 50-47.

We’ve seen similar positive Dem results in recent non-partisan polls in the battleground states.  Due to time restrains we won’t be able to go through these states today but here’s how non-partisan and GOP polls have seen Georgia in recent weeks, a dynamic we are seeing in most state polling now:

          Non-partisan polls – Warnock +3.2

          GOP polls -  Walker +4.4

At this point the non-partisan polling in the states have Dems ahead in AZ, GA, NH, PA.  NC, OH, WI perhaps lean a little R but we consider them toss ups. In the polling NV is a true toss up now, but we will go with Ralston and give it to the Dems.  All this means the Senate is leaning Dem today.  But it is very close. I have no special insights about the House at this time.

We’ve also seen very encouraging youth and Hispanic polling.  The most respected poll of young people, from Harvard’s Institute of Politics, found 18-29 year old with similar or higher levels of intention to vote as the record breaking 2018 midterm, and Dems with a 56-31 advantage with them (that’s a lot).  We also saw high quality Univision and Telemundo polls in AZ, NV and TX which found Dems reclaiming some of their lost ground with Hispanics this year.

To NDN the biggest question about this election was always whether that strong Dem energy and overperformance that we saw in Kansas, the 5 House specials and spiking post-Dobbs voter registration would carry over to the election itself.  Based on the remarkable Dem performance across the US in the early vote it is clear now that it has.  We are still, however, waiting on the red wave, and have actually been waiting for it since that June 28th House special election in Nebraska. It may come, but it has not come yet.  Rs have shown reduced intensity these past few months in the House specials, Kansas, in declining voter reg, anemic candidate fundraising and in the early vote.  But somehow, after being absent all these months it is just going to show up tomorrow? We will see.

We also wonder whether part of the reason we've seen Rs struggle with enthusiasm for months is that the 20 percent of the party not aligned with MAGA continues to be concerned about the MAGA takeover of the party.  Meaning that just too many Liz Cheney Republicans aren't going along with the radicalization of the GOP, and are holding back or even supporting Dems.  Yes, we will see about that too tomorrow. 

Based on everything we see with one day to go we would rather be us than them. But it is very close, and let’s hope and pray nothing interferes with our elections over the next few days. 

- Simon, November 7th, 2022