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Disaster Looms for Democrats in Battleground States

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The prospects for the Democratic Party in 2022 were never great. Historically, midterm elections are terrible for the party in power, but Biden’s tanking popularity appears to be making things even worse.

A recent NPR/Marist poll does suggests that despite Biden polling underwater, Democrats have an eight-point advantage over Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections. But there’s a catch. Because support for Democrats is concentrated on the coasts and in urban areas, it’s safe to say that any Democrat citing this poll as evidence that 2022 is going to be a good year for Democrats is peddling in false hope. Democrats still have every reason to be concerned about 2022 being a huge blowout victory for the Republican Party, which would cripple Biden’s agenda.

According to a report from The Hill, the Democrats’ registration edge in battleground states is shrinking, “stirring concern among some party members of a coming Republican wave in 2022.”

“In Pennsylvania, Democrats now lead Republicans in voter registration by about 632,000 people, down from 813,885 two years ago,” The Hill reports. “The same is true in another battleground state, North Carolina, where Democrats’ advantage has shrunk by more than 140,000 since October 2019. There are fewer active registered Democrats on the books in North Carolina now than there were six years ago.”

The situation gets worse in Florida—a crucial swing state. There, the Democrats’ registration advantage over Republicans has shrunk by over 200,000 in the past two years alone, with Republicans only trailing the Democrats by fewer than 24,000 voters.

“Obviously it’s concerning,” Thomas Kennedy, a Democratic National Committee member from Florida, told The Hill. “There are alarm bells ringing and I think the party and different groups are taking notice and trying to fill in the gaps.”

Kennedy blames the removal of inactive and deceased voters from the voter rolls for the narrowing of voter registration numbers in Florida. Imagine that. At least he admits that dead voters lean Democrat!

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Arizona is emerging as a new battleground state, though Republicans still have an edge there in voter registration. Despite Arizona trending purple, Republicans in the state have an enthusiasm advantage heading into the 2022 midterms, which could be critical as newly elected Senator Mark Kelly will have to defend his seat. Polls show Kelly has a comfortable lead, but the GOP primary hasn’t been held yet, and the right candidate could unseat him. An edge in enthusiasm could make all the difference. Kyrsten Sinema isn’t up for reelection until 2024, and it seems that Arizona Democrats aren’t happy with her right now and are looking to recruit a more “progressive” primary challenger. Such a Democrat would be less likely to hold on to the seat in a general election.

In short, things are looking good for Republicans on several levels. But that’s no reason to get cocky.