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Special Report: The 2022 US Midterm Elections

Political gravity appears to be shifting from the Democrat's post-Roe surge as inflation pushes undecided voters toward Republicans.
Special Report: The 2022 US Midterm Elections

With less than two weeks to go until election day, Democrats’ hopes of defying political history and keeping their narrow majorities in the House and Senate appear to be fading, as many of the party’s candidates go on the defensive in the final days of campaigning, reports the Guardian.

Democrats on the defensive as economy becomes primary concern over abortion (Guardian)

Excerpt from the Guardian: Over the summer, many election forecasters wondered if Democrats could avoid the widespread losses typically seen by the president’s party in the midterms. With voters expressing outrage over the supreme court’s decision to end federal protections for abortion access and gas prices falling, Democrats had been hopeful that their endangered incumbents could win re-election. The national political environment now seems to have moved in Republicans’ favor, and Democrats are running out of time to turn the tide. Gas prices started to rise again this month, although they have since started to moderate. With inflation at near record levels, the share of voters who name the economy as their top priority has increased since the summer.
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According to the Wall Street Journal, high interest in early voting across America is signaling that this year’s elections could meet or possibly exceed 2018’s record midterm turnout.

Early Voting Signals High Turnout in U.S. Midterms (Wall Street Journal)

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: More than 13 million ballots had been cast in the general election through Wednesday, a higher pace of early voting than seen across many states four years ago, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project and the Associated Press. Overall, votes cast by mail are making up the majority of the ballots reported by election officials countrywide, though some states such as hotly contested Georgia—where many people are voting early in person—are bucking that trend. People who study elections say the high early vote is one of several factors pointing toward robust midterm turnout, including a highly polarized and enthusiastic electorate, expansion of early voting in key states and higher turnout in the previous cycles creating a larger pool of voters who are in the habit of casting ballots.
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After crisscrossing the country for the midterms, Joe Biden and Donald Trump will find themselves ending the campaign on common ground in Pennsylvania, writes Politico.

Biden and Trump step into a Pennsylvania proxy war (Politico)

Excerpt from Politico: The must-win battleground has emerged as a proxy fight between the two men. It’s the rare state where both are appearing, culminating in final weekend showdowns when Biden is expected to join former President Barack Obama and the Democratic ticket while Trump rallies with the Republicans in the western part of the state. The stops foreshadow a likely 2024 rematch and escalate the posturing between the two that’s been simmering since Biden vanquished Trump two years ago, thanks in large part to reclaiming Pennsylvania. While their paths seldom cross so obviously, Biden has used Trump’s probable return to ground his own reasoning for potentially running again. Trump, meanwhile, is using Biden’s shaky standing in the polls as a springboard for himself, despite myriad investigations and legal troubles following the former president. Their teams are acutely aware that the success of any future campaign would again heavily rest on success in Pennsylvania. 
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Pennsylvania is extremely important to both parties because according to the New York Times, the upcoming midterm elections in the United States will have major global implications. Although hundreds of elections will take place, many candidates are considered shoo-ins and control in the Senate and House of Representatives will most likely be decided by a few tight races.

A Beginner’s Guide to the U.S. Midterm Elections (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: Historically, the party that controls the presidency — currently the Democrats — has fared poorly in the midterms. Frustration with the president often leads to success for the other party, and Mr. Biden has low approval ratings. Currently, Republicans are favored to win the House, and the Senate is considered a tossup, according to FiveThirtyEight. Democrats enjoyed a major polling bump after the Supreme Court made an unpopular ruling in June that removed the constitutional right to abortion, giving the party hope that it could defy historical trends, but that advantage has mostly faded. A governor will be elected in 36 states. Among other powers, they could be highly influential in determining whether abortion remains legal in several states.
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Finally, in another related story, swing-district polls by The New York Times and Siena College show how the midterm races are being shaped by larger, surprising forces, beyond the traditional red and blue divide.

The 2022 Race for the House, in Four Districts, and Four Polls (New York Times)

Excerpt from the New York Times: A new series of polls across four archetypal swing districts offers fresh evidence that Republicans are poised to retake Congress this fall as the party dominated among voters who care most about the economy. Democrats continue to show resilience in places where abortion is still high on the minds of voters, and where popular incumbents are on the ballot. Indeed, the Democrats were still tied or ahead in all four districts, but the party’s slim majority demands that it essentially run the table everywhere, at a moment when the economy has emerged as the driving issue in all but the country’s wealthier enclaves. The poll results in the four districts — an upscale suburb in Kansas, the old industrial heartland of Pennsylvania, a fast-growing part of Las Vegas and a sprawling district along New Mexico’s southern border — offer deeper insights beyond the traditional Republican and Democratic divide in the race for Congress. They show how the midterm races are being shaped by larger and at times surprising forces that reflect the country’s ethnic, economic and educational realignment.
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