Democratic victories in recent special congressional elections have observers adjusting their predictions for the 2022 midterm elections.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has walked back her recent predictions of a GOP sweep in the 2022 midterm elections, telling Fox News that while she thinks her side will win, she isn't declaring that there will be a "red wave."
"Of course, I've been saying forever we don't like the phrase 'red wave,'" McDaniel said during an interview on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning, in response to a question about tightening poll numbers for November races. "We have to earn every single seat in the House and the Senate to take it back."
McDaniel, however, has predicted a "red wave" of popular support sweeping Republicans to victory across the country in November multiple times since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Most recently, on Jan. 1 of this year, McDaniel tweeted: "Happy New Year! This is the year a Red Wave sweeps across the country and Republicans retake our majorities in Congress. Let's get to work!"
The RNC's Twitter account has used the phrase dozens of times since Biden's inauguration, including in January, when it tweeted: "It is officially election year! Republicans are ready to sweep this November. #RedWave."
Results of polling of voters about a generic ballot, asking which party they'd like to see control Congress without mentioning specific candidates, now show Democrats with a half-point lead, according to FiveThirtyEight. That's a dramatic shift, as Republicans had held a steady 2-point lead on the generic ballot since January.
Democrats have outperformed Biden's 2020 margins in recent special House elections, which FiveThirtyEight says is a sign that the "national political environment right now actually leans toward Democrats."
Democrats' surge in the polls has led election forecasters to scale back their predictions of a Republican wave in November.
FiveThirtyEight now predicts that Democrats have a 66% chance of controlling the Senate after the midterms. That's a dramatic shift from June, when it said Republicans had a 60% chance of winning control of the Senate and Democrats had a 40% chance.
The Cook Political Report called its Aug. 24 article on recent special election results "Red Wave Looks More Like a Ripple" as it downgraded its forecast to a GOP pickup of 10-20 House seats instead of its previous prediction of 20-35 seats.
"In May, @CookPolitical's House outlook was a GOP gain of 20-35 seats. Based on recent developments, we've revised our outlook to a 10-20 seat GOP gain, w/ Dems maintaining control not out of the question," Cook Political Report analyst Dave Wasserman tweeted.
CBS News also scaled back its forecast of a red wave, saying Republicans have had "a tumultuous summer" that has made their advantage appear a little smaller today, trending toward narrow gains instead of a wave.
Observers say Democrats have seen their fortunes rise recently for a number of reasons.
They say the Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade's affirmation of a constitutional right to abortion in the United States dramatically shifted the landscape.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.