If the current polls are on track to predict the results of the 2022 midterms, Democrats will successfully keep control of the Senate, despite historical patterns that show the minority party with an advantage in the midterm elections.
With a month until Election Day, Democrats are poised to win in five of seven battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Recent polling suggests Republicans are still on track to flip Nevada and Wisconsin.
Currently, the Senate is split 50-50, but Democrats get the advantage with Vice President Kamala Harris‘ tie-breaking vote. In order to stay in control over the Senate, Democrats need to hold onto 14 Senate seats. As of Friday, FiveThirtyEight shows Democrats with a 67 in 100 chance of keeping the Senate.
The GOP had been anticipating a massive red wave this November, and a shaky economy flogged by rising prices and recession fears had all but handed Republicans control of Congress. But the Supreme Court‘s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, which overturned the right to an abortion established in Roe v. Wade, boosted Democratic voter enthusiasm, while a number of policy wins for the Biden White House scored more points for the majority party.
Yet, forecasting elections has become increasingly hard. A Newsweek analysis of 2020 polling and the results of the 2020 election found that most October polls predicted much larger wins for President Joe Biden than the victories he actually saw over former President Donald Trump.
Polling in Arizona was the most accurate among the seven key swing states. A Marist poll predicted that it was an even split between Biden and Trump, each supported by 48 percent of voters.
After multiple recounts, Arizona ultimately went to Biden by an extremely narrow margin. With some 10,000 votes—a 0.3 percent margin, Biden beat Trump as the first Democratic presidential nominee to carry Arizona since Bill Clinton in 1996.
A YouGov/CBS poll conducted between September 30 and October 4 found incumbent Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat, with a three-point lead over Republican candidate Blake Masters.
In October 2020, Biden was expected to win the Peach State by three percentage points, according to a poll from Monmouth University. But the results of the election showed a much smaller victory of less than one percentage point.
Biden’s win in Georgia was even smaller than the one in Arizona. The Democrat won by a margin of 0.23 percent.
However, recent polling shows Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock with a double-digit lead over GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker, suggesting that even if the numbers are slightly skewed in the same degree as 2020, the Democrats would still hold onto the Senate seat. A SurveyUSA poll conducted between September 30 and October 4 shows Warnock ahead by 12 points.
A Siena College poll showed Biden with a six-point advantage in over Trump, but Biden’s win in Nevada ended up being closer to a margin of 2.39 percent.
However, because Nevada is one of the two swing states that Republicans are expected to take this November, a skew showing a larger victory for Democrats wouldn’t be an issue for the GOP in the Silver State.
A Trafalgar Group poll conducted between September 17 through 20 shows Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Mastro trailing Republican candidate Adam Laxalt by four percentage points.
Polls throughout the 2020 election cycle showed a clear Biden lead and he had been heavily favored to take New Hampshire. However, his final victory was smaller than the projected double-digit victory that a University New Hampshire poll suggested Biden would win.
Although the survey showed the Democrat with a 12-point lead over Trump, Biden’s margin of victory ended up bring 7.35 percent. This could spell trouble for Democrats in New Hampshire this year, since their advantage in the Senate race is slimmer than Biden’s was in 2020.
Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan has a three-point lead over Republican Don Bolduc, according to a Trafalgar Group poll conducted between September 26 and 39.
Ohio was the swing state with the largest discrepancy between polling and actual election results in 2020. A Siena College poll had predicated Biden would take Ohio by one percentage point, but the state overwhelmingly went for Trump, who won Ohio by more than eight points in 2020.
This could be bad news for Democratic congressman Tim Ryan, who is running against Trump-backed J.D. Vance. While Ryan’s lead is slightly larger than Biden’s was in the polls, Trump’s massive victory could repeat itself with Vance.
A Siena College conducted between September 18 and 22 shows Ryan with a three-point advantage over Vance.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed Biden with a seven-point lead over Trump in 2020. While the Democrat went on to carry the state, he only won with just a little over 1 percent of the vote, securing 50.01 percent of support to Trump’s 48.84 percent.
Polls show a tight Senate race in Pennsylvania, where Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz are facing off to take the state’s open seat. An Emerson College poll conducted between September 23 and 26 shows Fetterman two points ahead of Oz.
Biden had been forecast to take Wisconsin by a margin of five percentage points in 2020, but his win in the state ended up being by only 0.63 percentage points.
Republicans are currently projected to win the Senate race in Wisconsin, although Democrat Mandela Barnes is closing the gap on Republican Senator Ron Johnson in the polls. A September 22 through 26 survey conducted by Beacon Research/Shaw & Company Research showed Johnson with a four-point lead, but the most recent poll conduced by Public Policy Polling between September 26 and 27 called the race even.