The midterm election landscape is shifting in favor of Republicans, according to polling and forecasts that show key races tilting into the GOP column, and the economy, inflation and crime are crowding out abortion as a top issue.
Eight in 10 voters told a Politico-Morning Consult poll, released Wednesday, that the economy will play a major role in their vote, and 46% of voters trust Republicans to address the issue versus 39% for Democrats.
Many voters say the economy is only getting worse, and a bigger share of voters cite crime as a major issue (64%) than abortion (59%).
GOP candidates have moderated their stances on abortion restrictions during the sprint to Election Day while elevating crime as an issue that liberal politicians have fumbled.
Republicans gained on a generic congressional ballot over the past week, trailing Democrats by 1 percentage point — 45%-44% compared to 46%-42%.
Forecasters say the GOP is poised to retake the House majority it lost in the 2018 midterm elections because it only needs to net five seats and newly drawn congressional maps favor Republicans in key contests.
Historically, the party that does not control the White House fares well in the first midterm cycle under a new president.
Politico’s Election Forecast moved 10 key races toward the GOP’s favor, including districts in Oregon and California where President Biden won big in 2020, but Democratic incumbents are in “toss-up” territory and could lose their seats.
The latest CBS News/YouGov Battleground Tracker predicts Republicans will end up with 224 seats versus 211 for Democrats, or more than the 218 needed to take control of the chamber.
The evenly divided Senate remains a toss-up heading into the sprint toward Election Day, with questions about candidate quality blunting Republican advantages.
Mr. Biden tried to bolster his party’s chance with a key constituency — women — on Tuesday with a political speech in Washington that highlighted the risk of new abortion restrictions under GOP control. He said if voters expand Democratic majorities, his first demand will be for Congress to codify the broad right to abortion enshrined in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that the Supreme Court overturned in June.
While Democrats hold a polling advantage with women broadly, independents who could determine key contests are breaking toward the GOP because of economic worries, according to a New York Times/Siena poll released this week.
Women who identified as independents favored Republicans by 18 points in the NYT/Siena poll, a massive swing from a 14-point edge for Democrats in September.