Democrats’ desire to maintain control of at least one chamber of Congress comes down to Republican nitpicking. For a while, this seemed plausible because Republican brands were unpopular across a particular race, and Republican candidates were unpopular among particular races.
But with Election Day less than a week away and momentum clearly on the Republican side, the odds of a GOP rout have increased.
Why? We’re dealing with a deeply disaffected electorate, which almost always means that the president’s party is punished by the electorate.
Check out the Gallup poll released Tuesday. Only 17 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country. It was the worst at any mid-term since at least 1982, when Gallup first measured mid-term satisfaction.
Importantly, this satisfaction with the direction of the country is highly correlated with the House’s midterm results. Americans were more dissatisfied with the direction of the country than satisfied in the midterm elections, and the party occupying the White House lost an average of 33 seats. That number jumped to 46 seats in the president’s first midterm election.
If we look at seat totals, the party occupying the White House ended up with an average of 186 seats when more Americans were dissatisfied than satisfied with the president’s first midterms. That would be the Democrats’ loss of more than 35 seats in the 2022 midterm elections. When Americans are more dissatisfied than satisfied, the president’s party has never had more than 204 seats.
Not surprisingly, in the three midterms that most Americans are satisfied with, things are very different. These three elections (1986, 1998, and 2002) actually added two seats to the president’s party on average.
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