The party out of power in the White House typically wins back or strengthens its congressional power during the first midterm elections of a new administration.
According to recent data, the 2022 elections appear poised to fit that pattern, much to the dismay of Democrats hoping to pass President Joe Biden’s agenda.
A poll of plugged-in staffers
According to Breitbart, a recent survey of senior congressional staffers on Capitol Hill revealed that two-thirds of them believe Republicans will reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives following next year’s races.
The poll was conducted as a joint effort by Punchbowl News and the Locust Street Group polling firm to probe the thinking of senior congressional staffers who often, as Punchbowl News argued, wield “outsized power” and act as “gatekeepers” or “decision-makers” on behalf of the lawmakers for whom they work.
The Canvass, as the survey is known, revealed that 66% of those surveyed believe the GOP will end Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) term as speaker by winning back a majority of the chamber.
Even among Democratic staffers, a full 36% think their party’s run with majority status will soon be coming to an end.
In the upper chamber, however, there is a different prevailing prediction altogether. As part of the same survey, 66% of congressional aides believe that the Democratic Party will retain control in the Senate after the midterms.
Opportunities for bipartisanship
While GOP staffers were evenly split on the issue, 82% of Democratic staffers were confident that their party would prevail.
The practical matter, of course, is the ability for lawmakers to pass legislation within a divided Congress. Pollsters also probed the views of senior aides regarding what type of bills could get passed, and nearly three in four respondents pointed to spending bills related to infrastructure projects.
Biden’s current infrastructure plan has drawn plenty of GOP opposition, in part due to a massive price tag topping $2 trillion and the inclusion of progressive agenda items that do not fit the traditional definition of infrastructure.
When addressed in smaller pieces, however, the issue appears to have widespread support across party lines, with 92% of all lawmakers supporting road and bridge improvement, 91% in favor of expanded broadband internet coverage, 84% for airport updates and maintenance, and 81% supporting improvements in the nation’s water systems.
Republicans currently plotting a course toward increased congressional power are sure to be encouraged by the latest evidence that their efforts will likely end in success. Combined with news that a number of House Democrats are planning to retire or seek another office, all signs appear to point toward a new GOP majority following the upcoming elections.