Voters cast their ballots on the first day of early voting in Atlanta, Georgia on October 17, 2022.
Elie Nouvelage | Reuters
Republican candidates appear to be making gains in the final sprint toward November’s midterms, with new election forecasts in key swing states and partisan strongholds flashing for Democrats.
In Ohio, 40% of likely voters said they would prefer the House and Senate to be controlled by Republicans, compared to 33% who would prefer Democrats to be in charge, according to a Spectrum News/Siena College poll released Monday. .
The result came even as respondents to the same Ohio poll were split, 46% to 46%, over the two Senate candidates fiercely competing for the seat vacated by incumbent GOP Senator Rob Portman. The poll, conducted by telephone among 644 likely Ohio voters between Oct. 14 and Oct. 19, has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
Republican Senate hopeful JD Vance, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, retains a polling advantage over former Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, who is seen as an underdog in a state Trump won handily. hand in 2016 and 2020.
While the latest poll shows a tight race, the trend is in favor of Vance: Siena’s survey last month showed Ryan up 3 percentage points.
Voters’ preference for a GOP-controlled Congress, meanwhile, underscores the struggles of Democrats in an election cycle where the incumbent president’s party tends to be disadvantaged — and where high inflation has historically been a major issue across demographic lines.
Even in reliable blue states, Democrats’ narrow majorities in Congress are under threat.
The Cook Political Report on Monday changed its rating for New York’s 17th congressional district to “Toss Up” from “Lean Democrat,” as internal polls reportedly showed Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney in a major fight against Republican Mike Lawler.
Maloney is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and a five-term House incumbent. He had drawn criticism after the state’s messy redistricting process prompted him to seek re-election in a neighboring district, rebuffing progressive freshman Representative Mondaire Jones.
A Republican super PAC recently began spending millions of dollars in Maloney’s district, prompting Democrats to increase their own spending in the race, The Washington Post reported.
Another Spectrum News/Siena poll released Monday, that of Texas, shows incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott holding a sizable lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, 52% to 43%. Abbott’s steady lead appears unaffected by the O’Rourke campaign’s record fundraising efforts. The pollster polled 649 likely Texas voters between Oct. 16 and Oct. 19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
Democrats have battled to fight relentless GOP messages about crime and the economy, especially the high inflation that has dogged President Joe Biden’s first term.
Biden’s approval rating, while improved from its summer lows, remains underwater and is seen as a potential drag on some Democrats struggling to survive in battleground states.
Democrats had taken a lead in the Senate race over the summer, as Trump-backed Republicans in a handful of crucial races — particularly the Senate races in Pennsylvania and Georgia — appeared to be trailing.
But these two Republicans, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Herschel Walker, have consolidated their deficits in the polls and now appear to be neck and neck with their Democratic rivals. As a result, the Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate now look much tighter, according to the FiveThirtyEight tracker.