Midterm-election season is upon us, and the current political landscape is on the minds of many. What will happen and what will the results mean for our nation? As noted by Huffpost, CNN’s senior data reporter Harry Enten recently noted that his findings “are pointing in the wrong direction for Democrats, who hold a 12-seat House majority.” However, a number of recent polls shows that the midterm elections could be much more competitive than many are thinking. Surprisingly enough, this news comes from GOP-leaning polls, including a poll conducted by Emerson College and referenced by Fox News: “The Emerson College National Survey revealed Republicans lead Democrats by just one point, 45 percent to 44 percent, which represents a nine-point improvement for Democrats since February.”
This news should grab the attention of every Democratic voter and remind them in no uncertain terms that their vote will be of utmost importance come election time. And the Fox News report is just one of several I’ve recently seen.
In a July poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College, “41 percent [of registered voters] said they preferred Democrats to control Congress, compared with 40 percent who preferred Republicans.” The Times notes that this is happening despite the fact that “one of the most enduring trends in American politics is that the president’s party tends to fare poorly during midterm elections. And in 2022, that trend was supposed to reassert itself with a vengeance.” This is based on President Biden’s plummeting approval rating and inflation climbing “at its fastest pace in four decades.” But that is not happening.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently conducted a national poll, with surprising results. According to the “1,219 likely 2022 voters” who were surveyed, 46 percent chose the Democratic candidate for Senate when asked, “If the November election for the U.S. Senate were being held today, would you vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate?” A similar query regarding the U.S. House of Representatives turned up similar results, with 46 percent choosing the Democratic candidate and 41 percent choosing the Republican candidate.
Even more astounding are the results from a July 2022 poll conducted by Americans for Prosperity, the extremely far-right leaning Koch Brothers-founded organization that hardly needs any introduction. Their poll results showed that if midterm elections were held today, 39 percent of respondents would choose the Republican candidate, with 42 percent voting Democrat. Here’s an interesting twist: This poll found that a mere 7 percent had any interest at all in investigating the 2020 election.
So why are Democrats faring better in polls than history predicts and current thinking presumes? One reason, of course, is the plethora of disturbing and increasingly compromising facts uncovered by the Jan. 6 hearings. New York Times columnist Spencer Bokat-Lindell recently noted that “Republicans are also reconfiguring their relationship with Donald Trump, whose grip on the party isn’t as strong as it once was, particularly as the fallout from the House Jan. 6 investigation compounds.”
MSNBC’s The Sunday Show With Jonathan Capehart also shed some light on the issue during a recent interview with political strategist Rachel Bitecofer. Bitecofer commented that Democrats are faring better than expected largely due to “recent political turbulence, primarily the evisceration of Roe and the threat to right to privacy but also … bringing to life the idea that the armed insurrection was intentional and plotted by Donald Trump.” Bitecofer also said: “It is reason to get excited. But I do want to temper people’s enthusiasm and say it’s a trend in the right direction, [but] it’s certainly not telling us that as of today everything’s going to be cupcakes and rainbows for Democrats. But it’s telling us they have a chance to compete.”
I couldn’t agree more! Just because the numbers currently show the competition will be close, this is no time to sit back and hope we “have it in the bag.” Democrats are making history right now. But we have to remember the work that remains ahead. Most of all, we must remember how important our vote is right now — perhaps more important than it has ever been.
Bill Freeman is the owner of FW Publishing, the publishing company that produces the Nashville Scene, Nfocus, the Nashville Post and Home Page Media Group in Williamson County.