15 days until the November 8 mid-term elections. What do we know?

By Dave Andrusko

For starters we know the media heavyweights are panicking. “Democrats fear the midterm map is slipping away” is the headline for Michael Scherer story in the Washington Post. “Polls in both the House and Senate show improvements for Republicans amid economic and crime concerns” is the subhead.

The story has very, very little encouraging news for congressional Democrats, who are uniformly pro-abortion. Here’s an overview in five parts:

#1 “The liberal Navigator public tracking poll flashed a major warning sign for Democrats in mid-October, reporting a 20 percentage point jump since September in the share of independent voters concerned about the economy and gas prices.” The price of gas is a figure that hits everyone of us in the pocketbook each and every week.

#2. Crime. (I am not making this up.) Marie Gluesenkamp Perez is a Democratic candidate for Congress in southern Washington State. “Anybody in the real world is very concerned about crime, very concerned about the price of groceries,” said Perez, whose own auto-repair shop, in northeast Portland, has been broken into four times in the last year.”

#3. Ultra-close races lean Republican. “The real open questions are the dozens of races where polling offers no clear signal,” Scherer writes.Far more Democratic seats sit on a knife edge than Republican ones, subject to unknown factors like turnout and voter whims over the coming weeks. Predicting the exact outcome has been made even more difficult because polling in 2020 largely failed to see the strong night Republican House candidates had.”

#4. So many races, so little money. “In recent weeks, Democrats have canceled television reservations in Arizona, Texas and Wisconsin, all but conceding pickups for Republicans in three districts where Democratic incumbents opted not to seek reelection. The party has also been alarmed by polling that shows Republican Allan Fung, the former mayor of Cranston, R.I., leading the Democratic state treasurer, Seth Magaziner, in the heart of New England and in a state that has not elected a Republican to Congress since the 1990s.”

#5. Abortion, abortion, abortion isn’t working. “Candidates say they have felt the ground shift. ‘The economic concern is definitely worse, and I think that is probably part of what has corroded concern about abortion rights,’ said Perez.”

“The issues that heavily favor Republicans, like the economy and crime, keep gaining importance with voters the closer we get to Election Day,” said Michael McAdams, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “That has created a dire situation for Democrats.”

The shift has happened even as Democrats have devoted enormous amounts of money to advertising on the issue of abortion and the Supreme Court’s June decision overruling abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“The entire issue set is working against us. It is really hard for a Democrat in a marginal district,” said another Democratic House strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. 

“There was a lot of attention on abortion immediately post-Dobbs. As time has passed the immediacy has dissipated. The everyday reality of buying gas and buying groceries has overtaken it.” [Underlining is mine.]

The momentum is indisputably in our favor. And we have 15 more days to watch the “Red Wave” grow and grow and grow.