As summer came to a close and November’s mid-term approached, a narrative began to build suggesting that Democrats could retain the House or limit their losses to just a few seats. That was largely driven by political sites like Nate Silver’s that produce garbage-in, garbage-out election models that completely ignored the fundamentals of the electorate.
But as I’ve said many times, ignoring the fundamentals in favor of historically awful polling is foolhardy, and evidence is now mounting that the House of Representatives is now a lost cause for the Democratic Party. The good vibes have been replaced by dogfights in districts that aren’t even supposed to be in play, and there’s every reason to think things get worse as election day approaches.
For example, in Rhode Island’s 2nd District, Republican Allan Fung leads Democrat Seth Magaziner by 8 points.
NEW: Time for Dems to break glass in case of emergency in #RI02?@Globe_RI poll out today finds GOP’s @AllanFungRI leading by 8 pts – outside the MoE and even better than his 6-pt lead in our poll last week
— Ted Nesi (@TedNesi) October 11, 2022
That poll was a red alert for Democrats given that even after you allow for the changes made in redistricting, Joe Biden would have won it by a whopping 14 points. That is not a district a Republican is supposed to be competitive in if Democrats have any shot at holding the House, much less a district a Republican is supposed to be leading by eight in. A poll showing Fung tied would have been bad enough.
It doesn’t stop there, though. In Oregon’s 6th district, the news isn’t much better for Democrats. After districting is taken into account, Joe Biden would have it by 13 points in 2020. Today, Republican Mike Erickson leads by 5 points.
🚨 Oregon House District 6 Poll
(R) Mike Erickson 44% (+5)
(D) Andrea Salinas 39%
⦿ Cygnal (R)
⦿ 400 LV
⦿ MoE ±4.83% pic.twitter.com/fpQqNQzPai
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) October 6, 2022
What makes that result even more stunning, though, is that if you cite Andrea Salinas’ own Democrat internal, it still only has her up one point. That’s a bad place to be in a year that contains strong headwinds against the incumbent political party.
Continuing that theme is a race in Northern Virginia’s 10th district, which is a national stronghold for Democrats that is rated D+19. In other words, it is not supposed to be a district that is in play. It’s not supposed to require national money from the DCCC. It’s certainly not supposed to need a sharply negative turn in campaigning less than a month before the election.
You don’t do this in a Biden +19 district if the House is still in play for Democrats.
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) October 12, 2022
Candidates prefer to remain above the fray and unsullied if at all possible. They only get into the mud when they think they have to, and the only reason Democrat Jennifer Wexton would do so at this point is if her campaign believes Republican Hung Cao is within striking distance. And to be frank, if that’s the case, there is a zero percent chance Democrats hold the House.
But I’ll go further. I think all this data adds up to something bigger: A Red Wave. You’ve got districts that Democrats are having to viciously defend and could possibly lose that weren’t even on the table a few months ago during the “Democrats are resurgent” phase of political modeling. If RI-2 and OR-6 are in play, then there are lots of D+1 to D+4 seats that are all but lost now. I see nothing to make me think Republicans only take a few seats in November. I think getting over 240 is not only possible again, but probable.
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