Americans head to the polls next week in a key midterm election that could determine or impact the rest of President Joe Biden’s agenda – and it doesn’t look good for the party your.
The economy has become a dominant issue on the campaign trail, creating worrisome headwinds for Democrats and increasing the odds of Republicans taking control of Congress.
Hyperinflation is pushing up prices from food to fuel, and Americans seem to be voting with their wallets. Some polls show they think Republicans are more reliable to fix the economy.
“Unfortunately for Democrats, the economy supersedes everything else,” Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics (UVA), told CTV National News.
Sabato publishes UVA’s “Crystal Ball,” an influential guide that analyzes U.S. polling and election data to each county.
In an interview with CTV National News at UVA’s historic campus in Charlottesville, Va., Sabato forecast “the tide is pulling in the direction of the Republican Party.”
“It is very easy to resist the incumbent administration when economic conditions are not good,” he said.
Despite a strong labor market and a summer of economic growth, Americans are facing rising interest rates, decade-high inflation and a recession.
“The president’s message about the economy is inexplicable. I think that hurts the Democrats. I think it’s hurt [Biden]. He was given bad advice,” he said.
Earlier this summer, Democrats contested a US Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights. The party has made defending women’s rights and defending democracy central to its campaign.
Meanwhile, Republicans have largely avoided the abortion debate, focusing instead on the thriving economy and advertising flooding local TV markets.
The pressure is being felt by Democrats in tight campaigns.
Mark Kelly, a Senate Democrat looking to run for re-election in Arizona, distanced himself from Biden in a recent TV ad.
“When Joe Biden makes a mistake, I’ll call him out,” he says in the ad, looking into the camera.
In response, Biden shifted his message to reflect economic anxiety.
“Inflation is still hurting people,” he said at the White House before guests.
“We are making real progress,” he said, noting that the economy is improving.
Currently, Democrats hold a majority in the House and Senate. Many polls show Republicans will win control of the House, but the Senate remains a subversive.
Historically, the president’s party was chastised in midterm elections. Democrats felt upbeat at the start of the campaign, but growing economic troubles appear to have dampened their confidence.