DemDaily: US House: The New Landscape

September 20, 2022

With primary season now behind us, and at just seven weeks out from the 2022 midterm elections, the battleground lines have been drawn in the high-stakes fight for control of the US House of Representatives.

The partisan breakdown of the current 117th Congress of the US House of Representatives stands at 222 Democrats to 213 Republicans. That includes one GOP and one Democratic vacancy. There are an additional six non-voting members from DC and the Territories.

Republicans will need a net gain of five seats to take control of the House.

The Political Landscape
Democrats entered the election cycle facing the traditional pattern of losses suffered by the party in the White House in off-election years. Since World War II, the sitting president's party has lost an average of 26 seats in the House.

Democrats are also defending more than twice as many vulnerable seats between the newly redistricted maps, retirements or departures, and incumbent primary losses.

A series of events, however, have played in Democrats' favor in recent months -- turning what could have been a tsunami of defeats into what is now more likely a small red wave.

While hot-button issues don't always translate to results at the ballot box, the June decision by the US Supreme Court's conservative supermajority to overturn the constitutionally protected right to abortion has incensed and energized voters of both parties.

Six in ten voters disapprove of the decision and Americans, particularly women and young voters, are turning out in droves to register to vote.

Former President Donald Trump's negative visibility, heightened by the January 6th Committee hearings, continues to threaten the GOP. Republicans now stand to lose a number of high-profile races up and down the ticket due to Trump's successful endorsement of right-wing candidates.

And while the midterm elections are often regarded as a referendum on the president's performance, after 20 months in office, Biden's historic legislative and political gains are finally beginning to gain traction. In the last month, his approval rating moved from 42% to 45%.

While his numbers are still underwater, Democrats continue to outpoll the President's approval rating on both the generic ballot and in polls of individual races.

A new NBC poll out today shows the parties in a dead heat on the generic congressional ballot, with 46% of voters preferring Republicans to control Congress to 46% who want Democrats in charge, with 8% undecided. The September 9-13, 2022 survey of registered voters had a Margin of Error (MOE) of +/-3.1%.

The current trajectory provides hope for some that Democrats may turn the tide and maintain control of the US House. In the interim, DemList has provided our analysis of where the top targets stand.

Tomorrow: More on the House Tossups!

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Sabato, State Dailys, US House

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