Here’s another sign of possibly waning Democratic momentum with the midterm elections just 19 days away: The Republican Party’s edge in the generic ballot has reached its highest level in about four months.
The generic ballot refers to a poll question that asks voters which party they would support in a congressional election without naming individual candidates. Analysts tend to see it as a useful indicator.
Republicans are scoring 47.9% support in a RealClearPolitics average of generic ballots as of Thursday, with Democrats behind by 3 percentage points at 44.9%, as shown in the chart below. The difference was 3.1 points on Wednesday.
The GOP hasn’t enjoyed advantages of this size in RCP’s average since the party’s edge was at 3.4 percentage points on June 24. That was the day the Supreme Court reversed its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, turning abortion rights into a major campaign issue for Democrats. Republicans have seized on raging U.S. inflation in their campaigns.
Democrats had the advantage in the generic ballot for much of August and September.
Other enterprises focused on political analysis and forecasting, such as FiveThirtyEight, still show Democrats with a slight edge in their data for generic ballots.
Meanwhile, other signs of improving Republican prospects include betting markets now favoring the GOP to take control of the Senate, with PredictIt data giving a 62% chance for that outcome, as shown in the chart below. That’s a level last seen about three months ago.
But some analysts continue to anticipate that Democrats will keep their grip on the 50-50 Senate, which they currently control only because Vice President Kamala Harris can cast tiebreaking votes.
“In the Senate, we still see Democrats as slight favorites to retain control, and we believe the biggest risk to that outlook comes from the possibility that Democrats could lose PA based on health concerns about their nominee John Fetterman, rather than any shift in the national environment or polling to date,” said Tobin Marcus, senior U.S. policy and politics strategist at Evercore ISI, in a note this week, referring to the closely watched Pennsylvania race in which Fetterman faces GOP candidate Mehmet Oz.
Marcus also said Republicans remain “heavy favorites to win the House in our view, but we continue to expect that the magnitude of their House gains will be moderate, in the 15-20 seat range.”