With huge cash advantage, Democrats gain in generic ballot while Republicans flounder

With huge cash advantage, Democrats gain in generic ballot while Republicans flounder

The fundamentals of the 2022 midterms increasingly reveal a cycle that is departing from the historic norms most pundits have relied on as touch points for their analysis.

In particular, the generic ballot trend lines appear to be decoupling from President Joe Biden’s job approvals by the day. FiveThirtyEight’s generic ballot aggregate, for instance, had tightened Thursday to a mere 1-point advantage for Republicans, 44.3%-43.2%, even as Biden’s approvals keep sinking, hitting 37.6%.

Check out the two screenshots back to back showing that congressional Democrats are faring better as Biden fares worse. 

In even better news for Democrats, FiveThirtyEight’s generic ballot likely overstates the case for Republicans. Look, for example, at the last 10 polls in the outlet’s aggregate: One of them is truly not like the others. The GOP-leaning Rasmussen Reports gives Republicans an 8-point advantage, while every other survey shows either a solid Democratic advantage or a very competitive race.

In fact, Democratic strategist and New Democratic Network President Simon Rosenberg went to the trouble of averaging the latest 17 independent polls with an A/B rating from FiveThirtyEight (while excluding partisan polls like Rasmussen) and found Democrats leading the generic ballot by +2.4 points, 44.1% D-41.7% R.

“That’s a 4-5 point shift from where the election was a month ago,” writes Rosenberg.

As we have noted repeatedly, Democrats also have better candidates to work with while Republicans are saddled with a slew of Trump-endorsed MAGA extremists, particularly in key Senate races.

Add to that a huge cash advantage for Democratic candidates and the outlook continues to improve. As NBC reported:

The average Democratic incumbent in those races raised $1.1 million last quarter and closed June with $4 million in cash-on-hand (California Rep. Katie Porter and New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer have $19.9 million and $14 million banked, respectively).

The average Republican incumbent in those races, by comparison, raised $736,000 last quarter and closed June with $1.7 million in the bank.

By Rosenberg’s calculations, Democratic House incumbents have an 8:1 cash-on-hand advantage over their challengers, while GOP incumbents only have 2:1 advantage over their challengers. (Though it’s worth noting the GOP PAC Congressional Leadership Fund ended June with $130 million cash on hand, while the Democratic House Majority PAC had just $60 million on hand.)

Senate Democratic incumbents are also handily outraising Senate GOP incumbents.   

While analysts have worried about soft Democratic enthusiasm, Democrats’ small-dollar donors seem pretty pumped, donating well over twice as much this cycle as their Republican counterparts, $65 million-$27 million. In the graph below, Democrats’ grassroots fundraising takes off right around the time the Supreme Court’s decision gutting Roe first leaked to the public.

GOP small-dollar donations via WinRed are flat this year, while Democrats’ have increased substantially the last 2 months on ActBluehttps://t.co/LdteF1mLxZ pic.twitter.com/5PmehmpTPb

— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) July 21, 2022

Meanwhile, Republicans have a “grassroots money problem,” as Axios notes:

concerted Republican effort to build a small-dollar fundraising apparatus independent of Trump’s brand appears to be faltering, while Democrats are building on the massive grassroots financial success they saw in 2020.

Rosenberg’s analysis also notes another interesting data point: Key GOP incumbents are struggling to break 50% in horse race polling.

He writes that Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are all under 50% in recent polls, while Republican Senate nominees Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and JD Vance in Ohio are closer to 40 than 50, all of which signals weakness in what are currently GOP-held Senate seats.  

“If this was such a good GOP year, why aren’t we seeing better GOP numbers? Why are their candidates struggling to raise money?” posits Rosenberg.

In short, early reports of Democrats’ cataclysmic demise this November have been greatly exaggerated. While keeping the House will still be a very tough nut to crack, Democrats’ prospects for keeping the Senate and even picking up a seat or maybe more continue to improve.

Additionally, the Democratic strategy of shining a spotlight on GOP extremism should continue to yield fruit straight into November. Republicans don’t recognize Joe Biden’s win as legitimate, they don’t want Jan. 6 investigated, they don’t want women to be able to access abortion or birth control, and most don’t want Americans to be able to marry the person they love if they are of the same sex or a different color. Republicans, the so-called small government party, are now actively advocating for government control of what Americans do in their bedrooms and private lives.

Last but not least, Republicans will never take responsibility for their role in facilitating a homegrown terrorist attack on Jan. 6, nor will they hold Donald Trump accountable for perpetrating that deadly but ultimately unsuccessful coup.

And Americans will continue to hear more about Republicans’ dereliction of duty on Jan. 6 in September when the select committee resumes its hearings.


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