Closing time …
Almost there. Several billion dollars spent on the midterm elections. Candidates and surrogates’ vocal cords shot. Campaign staff living on adrenaline and caffeine. Voters exhausted with all the TV ads but ready to vote – voter enthusiasm in both parties is high.
Two key points about the status of the elections
A new NBC poll underscores the challenge Democrats face in these midterm elections. Just 28% of independents approve of President Biden’s job performance. That is a heavy burden for Democratic candidates to handle in an election where it appears both parties’ bases will turn out in heavy numbers. But the Senate races in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and New Hampshire are all within the margin of error and to close to call. Nevada and Wisconsin are also tight, but the Republican candidate has a small lead.
FiveThirtyEight now gives Republicans a 54% chance of winning control of the Senate. Right before Labor Day, FiveThirtyEight only gave the Republicans a 28% chance. That is a huge move in the Republicans' direction – but 54% is far from a certainty. Senate Majority Leader Schumer is correct – Democrats could increase the size of their majority. Republicans could also get to 54 or even 55 seats. That’s a swing of 6 Senate seats in either direction.
The Republican message to voters has been consistent for over a year – they have focused on inflation, the economy, crime, and immigration. Democrats have been a bit less consistent but are closing with a forceful attack against Republican extremism – on democracy, abortion, entitlements, and race.
While the race for control of the House appears to favor Republicans heading into Tuesday, we may not know who will control the Senate for several weeks. It could all come down to Georgia and the race between Hershel Walker and Ralph Warnock. Under Georgia law, a candidate needs to get above 50% to avoid a runoff election. With a Libertarian candidate polling around 3%, it is possible – perhaps likely – that neither Walker nor Warnock get to 50%. Depending on the outcome of the other key Senate races – control of the U.S. Senate could once again come down to a run-off election in the state of Georgia.
Control of the U.S. Congress is up for grabs – and now firmly in the hands of the voters – exactly where it is supposed to be.
Congress and the White House
Senate up for grabs, GOP on brink of House majority. Republicans have a grip on the House majority. But the Senate is firmly up for grabs. That’s the top line of the final updates before Tuesday’s vote to POLITICO’s Election Forecast: The battle for the Senate is a “Toss Up,” while the House is “Likely Republican.”
The midterm results could change the country, in addition to Biden’s legacy. President Joe Biden has dramatically raised the stakes of the midterm elections, declaring, as part of the campaign’s close, that democracy itself is on the ballot. Come January, he may find himself needing to govern with those he’s cast as democracy’s threats. Tuesday’s midterm elections will likely dramatically shape Biden’s next two years in office. Republican victories would almost certainly ensnarl the president’s agenda, triggering a slew of investigations and impact Biden’s 2024 reelection decision.
Over the weekend, President Biden and three of his predecessors fanned out in an effort to rally voters. Candidates in key battlegrounds were set to make their last pitches to undecided voters in the final hours before Election Day, as GOP prospects continued to brighten. Republicans are seen by nonpartisan analysts as the favorites to take the House majority Tuesday, with surveys showing key voting blocs trending away from Democrats as many voters say their top concerns are inflation and economic uncertainty. Senate control remains a tossup, but polls show GOP candidates in states such as Arizona, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania have made gains in the final weeks. Democrats were also working to hold on to governors’ offices in Oregon and New York, states that were once seen as safely Democratic but have been competitive this year.
A wide range of outcomes is still possible. Here are signs to look for on election night. Just about anything is still possible in this year’s midterm elections. Everything from a Democratic hold in the Senate and a fairly close race for the House to something like a Republican rout is well within the range of realistic possibilities on Tuesday. Why such a wide range? With so many races on edge, it wouldn’t take much for the final outcome to feel very good, or very bad, for either party. In the Senate, the races likeliest to decide control remain exceptionally close, with the poll averages showing essentially a dead-heat in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and even New Hampshire. With just a few lucky breaks, either party could win control.
As Republican candidates make their final appeal in key states, they’re tapping some of the most polarizing figures in their party and turning to messages centered on cultural division and at times pushing racial discord. The events included dueling campaign rallies Sunday night in Florida featuring former president Donald Trump and the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis. And some featured harsh rhetoric, including former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley suggesting during a Georgia campaign stop on Sunday that Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.), who is an American citizen, should be deported. At the same time, many Democrats are scrambling to highlight more moderate themes, overlooking the far left of their party and bringing in surrogates who appeal to middle-of-the-road voters, including former president Bill Clinton, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.).
GOP Gaining Support Among Black and Latino Voters, WSJ Poll Finds. Republicans appear to be in a better position with both groups heading into the midterms than they were in 2020 or 2018. The Republican Party is winning support from a larger share of Black voters than in other recent elections and has improved its standing in the past few months among Latino voters, the latest Wall Street Journal poll finds, adding to evidence of the party’s increasing appeal among groups that have overwhelmingly favored Democratic candidates. About 17% of Black voters said they would pick a Republican candidate for Congress over a Democrat in Journal polls both in late October and in August. That is a substantially larger share than the 8% of Black voters who voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 and the 8% who backed GOP candidates in 2018 House races, as recorded by AP VoteCast, a large survey of voters who participated in those elections. Among Latino voters, Democrats held a lead of 5 percentage points over Republicans in the choice of a congressional candidate in the Journal’s October survey, a narrower advantage than the Democrats’ 11-point lead in August.