Midterm Election Predictions: 2022 Races Heat Up

Steven Makino , Staff Writer

With the midterm elections right around the corner, the highly tense Senate campaigns across the nation are coming to the final home stretch that could determine the agenda in Washington for the next few years. The stakes are very high, especially for a midterm election, as states such as Georgia have seen record early voting nearing presidential election figures with at least a few more states to follow suit. With the month during an election cycle known for infamous “October surprises” now coming to a close, I feel that predictions for control of Congress are more likely to be at least close to target. One thing is clear that many people can agree on: this election cycle does not bode well for the Democratic Party. 

It has been the case in modern American history that the President’s party has almost always been hurt by midterm elections as the referendum is on their governance rather than the minority party. This has been the case since World War II, with the notable exception of 2002. Even then, the circumstances were extraordinary, as dealing with the aftermath of 9/11 and bringing forward a brief time of unity and solidarity served then President George W. Bush well. However, President Joe Biden does not share this luxury, as his approval ratings continue to be underwater, at times even worse than his predecessor former President Donald Trump. This is likely to spell doom for any chance of Democrats being able to hold their already thin majority in the House. In addition, the current state of the economy as well as the various cultural war issues that plague the nation seem to lean in favor of Republicans making significant gains this year to put a halt to President Biden’s agenda. Given the current landscape of traditionally blue districts seeming to lean red or be in toss-up range, I believe that the GOP will pick up around 30 seats in the House this November. 

Now onto the Senate, which holds some of the most followed political races since the 2020 presidential election. Honestly, control for this chamber of Congress remains anyone’s guess, as both parties seem to be facing their share of struggles.

For starters, the Republican Party has put up really flawed candidates for Senate. Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker seems to have a new negative story about his personal life surface on a daily basis, which could make a significant difference in a state that is increasingly purple. Blake Masters in Arizona is still down in his race against incumbent Senator Mark Kelly due primarily to running as a very “Trumpy” candidate, despite the former president losing the state in 2020. Even in Ohio, the race only has J.D. Vance up by a small margin with Rep. Tim Ryan doing fairly well in a state that President Trump won in both 2016 and 2020. While I think Vance should be able to win, I am not as confident that it is a sure thing anymore. 

However, the Democrats haven’t done much better in choosing candidates this cycle, which is arguably more important due to them having to carry the baggage of a very unpopular president according to the polls. This is shown by the fact that races that seemed to already have a predetermined outcome have become competitive races for Republican candidates across the nation. The Senate races in Colorado, Nevada and Washington further reinforce this point as the economy remains the top issue for most Americans of any political affiliation. 

The Senate race in Pennsylvania between TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and lieutenant governor John Fetterman is one that is a key indicator not just for the outcome of this year’s election cycle but also for the next few years. Since Pennsylvania went to now-President Biden (albeit by a narrow margin) in 2020, it was not much of a surprise that Fetterman was dominating Oz throughout the summer, especially with the momentum surrounding the overturning of Roe v Wade. However, as Fetterman increasingly became the center of attention, ranging from his policy views to his past record, Oz has been able to capitalize on this momentum to narrow the race. In addition, worries about Fetterman’s health have only continued to grow as the election draws near. The stroke that he suffered in May was pretty serious, and given that stroke recoveries can take a long time, voters seem to be struggling over whether he’ll be able to handle the immense pressures that come with the job. These debates only seemed to be reinforced in the aftermath of the only PA Senate debate between the two candidates, as Fetterman struggled to give full answers to questions in addition to Oz outperforming expectations. The race is currently a statistical tie, and if I had to choose between a winner, I feel that Oz will come out with one of the narrowest senate victories in recent memory. 

Overall, I believe that the House is almost guaranteed to flip towards the GOP, but when it comes to the Senate, I feel that the Senate will either go to the GOP by one vote or remain a 50-50 split with Vice President Kamala Harris continuing to be the tie breaker. Predictions have never been an easy business in the political scene, with the 2016 cycle essentially throwing the polling industry into an utter frenzy. However, one thing’s for certain: turnout is sure to set new records with the outcome anticipated by the bulk of the country.