GOP Surging Toward the Finish Line as Republican Lead Grows in Competitive Districts

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A month ago, Democrats had hope of avoiding the worst of the Red Wave as the issue of abortion appeared to be dominating the political landscape. While abortion has continued to motivate Democratic female voters, the issue is failing to make a difference in key competitive districts.


Where Democrats dominate, abortion will be a winning issue. But in swing districts, other issues like inflation and Joe Biden’s job performance will likely tell the tale.

This is very good news for Republicans, who are now comfortably ahead in the generic ballot for these swing districts. Democrats still lead in the generic ballot overall, but in races that are considered too close to call, Republicans are doing very well.

A new CNN poll finds Republicans ahead 48-43 in these competitive districts. Republicans are also ahead in races where voters say they are extremely motivated to vote.


Republicans are sketching a dystopian picture of a nation in the grip of a crime wave to try to turn the election into a referendum on President Joe Biden. While the President claimed Trump’s “MAGA” fans had embraced “semi-fascism” and some Democratic campaigns have run ads warning of an autocratic GOP, Democrats are running far harder on the conservative Supreme Court majority’s overturning of abortion rights and their new law trimming some prescription drug costs.

As the election gets closer, voters tend to focus more on pocketbook issues rather than single-issue social issues. Even as abortion continues to anger women voters, that anger is most prevalent in districts Democrats already dominate. It simply isn’t going to be the game-changer that Democrats have been predicting.


Polls repeatedly show that voters see the economy – a far more visceral issue in daily life than the threat to American democracy – as their top concern. Their anxiety was explained by the latest inflation data. Grocery bills are just a pain right now. Frozen potato products are up 10%, pork products that are not sausages are 5.5% more expensive, according to US Producer Price Index data released on Wednesday. While it would be too simplistic to say voters are more preoccupied with the cost of French fries than the price of democratic freedoms, it wouldn’t be far from the mark

New CNN/SSRS poll numbers published Thursday show that the economy and inflation are especially concerning to voters in competitive congressional districts. While 59% of registered voters nationwide call the economy extremely important to their vote, that rises to 67% in these districts. The share calling inflation that important rises from 56% to 64%.

Not exactly case closed. It’s the candidate’s job to make sure voters know whose fault it is. Tying local candidates to the national party is always difficult, but it’s easier when the issue is so clear-cut.


Related: Meet the New GOP: Ohio’s Madison Gesiotto Gilbert

Over the next 10 days, election projection sites will factor in this new polling as well as update their local boards and start zeroing in on probable gains and losses for the parties. At the moment, a 20-seat gain by Republicans in the House seems likely to grow. And with GOP Senate candidates receiving a fresh infusion of cash from various PACs, Republican chances of regaining control of the Senate are growing.


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