Republicans are losing their midterm advantage, new polling finds

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Registered voters generally prefer Democrats over Republicans on the congressional ballot, according to a recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll.

For months, Republicans have been saying they expect to win back control of Congress in the November midterm elections and plan to obstruct President Joe Biden's agenda if they do. But American voters may not agree with that plan, according to new polling released Tuesday.

A November USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that in the next congressional election, registered voters preferred a generic Republican candidate over a generic Democratic candidate 46%-38%. But when the same outlet posed the same question in December, the generic Democratic candidate led 39%-37% — a 10-point swing to the left from the previous month.

Other polling seems to confirm this shift in public opinion. A recent Economist/YouGov poll found Democratic candidates led by 43%-36% on a generic congressional ballot question. A December Reuters/Ipsos survey found Democrats leading by a similar margin, 40%-33%.

Nonetheless, Republicans in Congress have continued to talk up their chances of winning back control of the House and Senate in November. "We're going to have a hell of a year," Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who chairs the National Republic Senatorial Committee, told the Associated Press on Friday. "Every state that Biden won by less than 10 is now a battleground state."

In a 2022 kick-off letter to his GOP House caucus, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote that he hopes to "earn the majority" this year to "define what our country will be for the next decade."

If Republicans do regain control of Congress, they would work to obstruct the agenda on which Biden was elected by more than 7 million votes. Since Biden's inauguration last January, Republicans in Congress have stalled votes on his nominees, unanimously opposed most of his major investment plans, and have tried to run out the clock on COVID safety measures.

Republican leaders have promised that if they regain the majority, they will seek to retaliate against Democratic lawmakers for governing by majority rule and holding GOP members accountable for violent extremism. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in June that a GOP majority would likely block Biden from filling Supreme Court vacancies, as it did with President Barack Obama in 2016.

McCarthy vowed in November that he would restore the committee seats of Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), both of whom lost their assignments in this Congress due to their extreme rhetoric, and said they may even "have better committee assignments" in the future.

Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he was 90% confident in a GOP House majority and 50/50 on a GOP Senate as well. He suggested on his podcast that if Republicans regained control of the House in November, they would likely move to impeach Biden as retribution for House Democrats impeaching former President Donald Trump.

"What is good for the goose is good for the gander," Cruz said. "I think there are potentially multiple grounds to consider for impeachment."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.