Glimmer of hope for Republicans in US midterms as they might just pip Democrats in House polls

Glimmer of hope for Republicans in US midterms as they might just pip Democrats in House polls


Republicans are still favoured to win the House of Representatives with the narrowest of margins. But all eyes remain on the four Senate races that will determine if Democrats retain control of the upper chamber of Congress, or if Republicans can tip it in their favour.


In the governor’s race, incumbent Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was boosted by abortion on the ballot with 54 per cent of voters voting yes on the proposition to establish the right to an abortion and 89 per cent in this group backed Whitmer. Additionally, 45 per cent said abortion was one of the most important issues in their vote choice in Michigan, 18 points higher than seen in national exit poll results and easily outpacing inflation as the top concern.

Among abortion voters, 75 per cent supported Whitmer. She also won 51 per cent of suburban voters, a group she lost by 3 points in her 2018 election.


With no winner in Nevada’s Senate race projected as of Wednesday morning, exit poll data found Republican Adam Laxalt eroding normally wide Democratic margins in Clark County, the home of Las Vegas and more than seven in 10 of the state’s voters. Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto led by four points there, versus 12 points in 2016. While that typically would be a death knell for a Democrat in Nevada, Cortez Masto came back with a 12-point lead in Washoe County, the second most populous county in the state; it was decided by just one point in the past two Senate elections.

And independent voters, who Cortez Masto lost by 10 points in 2018, split 48-45 per cent, Cortez Masto-Laxalt.

In another race with no winner projected as of Wednesday morning, Republican Joe Lombardo was aided by the share of voters age 65 and older, 32 per cent, up 10 points versus. 2018. He won older voters by 13 points over incumbent Democrat Steve Sisolak. Lombardo won white men by a 24-point margin. Sisolak was helped by political moderates, 55-41 per cent, and racial and ethnic minorities, 66-31 per cent.

New Hampshire

Popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu rode to re-election with a 69 per cent job approval rating. In a state that has two Democratic senators and has voted for Democratic presidents in five straight contests, his appeal as a moderate was key. He won among independents by 21 points, 59-38 per cent, and was able to sway otherwise Democratic voters in an impressive crossover, 21 per cent of those who voted for Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan also voted for Sununu.

Hassan prevailed with support from moderates. She won by 27 points among this group, far outpacing her 6-point advantage among moderates in 2016. Further, abortion looked critical: 35 per cent of voters identified it as the top issue in their vote and Hassan won this group by 73 points with only 36 per cent picking inflation as their top issue, but Republican challenger Don Bolduc won them by less of a margin, 42 points. Another key group for Hassan: While six years ago she held a 7-point advantage among women, that margin expanded to 19 points in this election.

North Carolina

A total of 80 per cent of North Carolina rated the nation’s economy negatively and 61 per cent voted for Republican Senate candidate Ted Budd. He also won 62 per cent of white voters. And Budd, who owns a gun store, won 65 per cent of voters from gun-owning households, 68 per cent of all voters in the state.


Incumbent Republican Governor Mike DeWine won another term with 65 per cent job approval among Ohio voters. As in 2018, DeWine won big among non-college white men (+47 points), whites (+33), men (+31 points) and rural residents (+22).

Political newcomer and Republican JD Vance was helped by Ohio’s recent red-state status: Thirty-six per cent of Ohio voters were conservatives, compared with 21 per cent liberals. He won by 64-36 per cent among the 75 per cent who rated the economy negatively, and won suburbanites by 13 points, 56 vs. 43 per cent.


Among key storylines in the state’s Senate race, projected winner John Fetterman focused on Mehmet Oz’s newcomer status in Pennsylvania and his long-time New Jersey residency. Just 43 per cent of voters thought Oz had lived in Pennsylvania long enough to represent the state effectively in the US Senate. By contrast, half thought Fetterman is in good enough health to represent the state effectively; questions over his health circulated since his stroke in May and his October 25 debate performance.

The winner in the governor’s race, Democrat Josh Shapiro, was boosted by the strongest showing for a winning gubernatorial candidate in the state among moderates (+40 points) in available data since 1992 and among independents (+29 points) since 2006.


While Beto O’Rourke ran a closer race than Governor Greg Abbott’s Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez in 2018, he was ultimately unable to gather the support he had in his last race for state-wide office – one he lost by just three points in one of the closest Texas Senate races in decades. In 2018, O’Rourke won Hispanic and Latino voters by 29 points against Cruz. This year he won them by a slimmer 17-point margin.

O’Rourke also was unable to mobilise Hispanic and Latino voters in the same way that he did in 2018, with turnout down 5 points among them, 26 vs. 21 per cent. O’Rourke’s margins similarly slid among voters age 18-29, from +42 points against Cruz four years ago to +29 points; and among women, flipping from an 8-point win against Cruz to a 3-point loss against Abbott.

Abbott retained broad support among evangelical white Christian voters (+76 points), conservatives (+82 points) and voters in East (+52 points) and West (+49 points) Texas.


Incumbent Governor Tony Evers edged out a narrow victory against Republican challenger Tim Michels, almost exactly matching his margin against Republican incumbent Scott Walker four years ago. Evers was aided by his popularity, with 53 per cent percent approving of how he’s handling his job as governor.

He also won by 19 points among moderates, who accounted for a plurality of voters in the state, 39 per cent; and by a narrow 2 points among independents, who have backed the winning candidate in all Wisconsin governor races for which data are available since 1994.

The Wisconsin Senate race has not been projected as of Wednesday morning with 47 per cent saying Democrat Mandela Barnes’ views are too extreme, while essentially as many, 48 per cent, said the same about incumbent Republican Ron Johnson.

Mandela won by 81-19 per cent among the 31 per cent of voters who called abortion a top issue in their vote; Johnson, by 77-23 per cent margin among the 35 per cent citing inflation. In a notable shift among groups, young voters broke sharply for Barnes, 69-31 per cent, compared with a narrow +3 points for Johnson in 2016. Still, they accounted for 11 per cent of voters, vs. 14 per cent six years ago. Those aged 65 and older, by contrast, were up from 24 per cent of voters in 2016 to 33 per cent this year, and broke 54-45 per cent for Johnson.

  • An AFP report
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