Republicans have made what should have been a “cake walk” midterm election much harder than it needed to be after becoming “distracted”, an analyst has told Express.co.uk. Statisticians have widely tipped the GOP to make gains this election cycle, despite a late resurgence for the Democrats after former President Barack Obama joined the campaign trail. It is a near certain trend that the president’s party loses significant ground during midterms – but things are less clear cut in 2022. This is despite how unpopular Joe Biden appears to be in polling.
Key factors influencing voters this year include inflation and abortion rights.
Republicans may feel they have the edge in the economy argument, citing Joe Biden’s high inflation and tumbling stock markets. But some US citizens will swerve the GOP at the ballot box following the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v Wade ruling. Many Republicans present themselves as ‘pro-life’ or anti-abortion – and the landmark effectively made abortion illegal in several states.
Dr James D.Boys, visiting scholar at Tufts University, Massachusetts, believes the midterms should be “an absolute cake walk for the Republicans”, but it has been a tighter race because the party has gotten “distracted”.
He said: “They should have had this absolutely in the bag because it’s a relatively straightforward campaign that they needed to run.
“Historically of course the party in opposition in the first electoral cycle of a new administration usually does very very well.
“If you think back to 2010, the first midterms after Obama’s victory in 2008, the Republicans did very well and as Obama said, the Democrats got a ‘shellacking’.
“Perhaps the closest parallel to how this should be playing out is, looking back a little bit further to 1994, is when Newt Gingrich ran a very controlled campaign for the Republicans in that midterm elections offering what he called ‘The Contract with America’, and in that cycle absolutely decimated what should have been a solid Democratically controlled House and Senate.”
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Turning to the Democrats, Dr D.Boys added: “The fact that the Democrats haven’t crumbled I think is because what the Republicans should have done is made this simply about three issues: the mental health of the President, the economic health of the country and the sense of security and crime around various major American cities.
“That would have been a very simple, straightforward campaign to run, and I think the fact that the Republicans have let themselves get distracted and bring other issues into this has distracted them from those core areas, which has allowed the Democrats to sort of claw back in some areas some electoral hope.
“Ultimately I think the greatest winner of the midterms will, as always, be the incumbency. It is very difficult to dislodge an incumbent, so I think time and again next week, we’ll see a whole series of incumbents return to office simply because of the money and the ability they have to leverage control against any challenger, it is usually overwhelming.”
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It comes as predictions from Sporting Index suggest the Republicans will assume control of the House of Representatives in the upcoming US midterm elections by winning 228 seats, 10 more than are needed for a majority.
The betting experts provided data to Express.co.uk which predicts the Democrats will lose 13 of their current House members and their majority, finishing with 207 seats.
They suggested control of the Senate could come down to votes in key states Georgia and Nevada. The current 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans is expected to remain the same.
Neville Burdock, analyst at Sporting Index, told Express.co.uk: “According to recent election forecasting the Republicans already have around 195 seats considered safe in the House, with the number leaning Republican thought to be enough for a majority of 218.
“However, we see that forecast as being conservative and expect them to easily get over the line to secure control of the House with 228 seats.
“Gaining control of the Senate will be far harder and while the Republicans again hold the upper hand in our spread markets, their advantage is only very marginal, and we see another 50-50 split occurring.”
Dr Christopher Phelps, a lecturer in American history at the University of Nottingham, told Express.co.uk losing both the House and Senate would be disastrous for Biden leading up to the 2024 presidential election.
He said: “Midterm elections for the past two decades have always run against the sitting president, so that is nothing new.
“The House would be expected to go to the GOP accordingly. But if the Senate also falls, it will be highly significant, since the electoral map in this Senate race actually favoured Democrats.
“And both houses of Congress in the hands of the Republicans will have serious consequences and make the Biden administration a lame duck.”