A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill showed that Republicans now have a slight advantage in the congressional generic ballot.
Neither party got a majority of voters to back it, but 45% of those surveyed said they would vote for the Republican in their local congressional race, while 42% said they would vote for the Democrat. 13% weren’t sure which way they would vote.
Democrats only have the thinnest of majorities in both houses of Congress, and Republicans already had a decent chance of winning back a majority in the House at least, given that the party in executive power usually loses seats in the midterm.
Recent events including the disastrous Afghanistan pullout, high inflation brought on by huge spending, and surging illegal immigration have also hurt Democrats, who are in charge of both the executive and legislative branches.
Democrats chances growing slimmer
There is also a redistricting process underway that is expected to benefit Republicans, after the 2020 Census numbers were made public.
Several longtime House Democrats have announced their retirements or said they would run for other offices ahead of the midterms, and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not said whether she will run for re-election.
“The public is once again sour on the president, the Democrats, the economy and the Republicans. Given the Democrats are in charge, this hurts them more and the Republicans now have the edge in any election,” pollster Mark Penn said.
But congressional approval ratings are not that different between the two parties. Democrats had a 38% approval rating in the poll, while 39% approved of Republicans.
A lot can happen
And Republicans should not get too confident about an election that is still a year away. A lot can happen in a year that could change the trajectory of an election, and Democrats will no doubt be working as hard as they can to make voters doubt Republicans.
The Democrat Congress is also working to pass voting bills that would give Democrats more of an advantage as well as make it easier to cheat in elections, like universal mail-in balloting and a ban on requiring ID to vote.
So far, the divided Senate has held back any such bills from passing, but if Democrats can get one or two moderates to change their minds on the filibuster, that could easily change by next year.
And while Republican majorities would stop a lot of bad legislation from being passed, it would likely result in gridlock that could embolden President Joe Biden to use more executive actions, which are harder to stop.