Why 2022 midterms will be as unpredictable as ever

Nov 3, 2022, 6:02 PM
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) (L) speaks during an event on the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on the steps of the U.S. Capitol May 3, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With a week remaining before the tightly-contested midterms, polls are claiming Republicans are very likely to win a sizeable majority in the House, while the Senate’s future remains murky, according to Bloomberg News.

“Predictions are great for sports; baseball, basketball, and of course, my wonderful predictions in football. But politics is iffy, if you can’t tell,” said Jason Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor for Morgan State University and MSNBC contributor, on The Gee and Ursula Show. “If you would’ve asked me a month ago, I thought the Democrats are going to lose the House by a ton, maybe 20, 30 seats, and then they were going to hold the Senate probably at the same 50/50 mark with Vice President Harris being the tiebreaker. Now, I don’t know.”

Johnson also stated the “unprecedented turnout” from young voters could make the midterm elections even more unpredictable for either party.

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Voters under the age of 30 are projected to break their demographic’s own voting records during this year’s midterm elections, according to a poll conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

One of Washington’s midterm races that’s on every voter’s mind is Senator Patty Murray battling against Tiffany Smiley, which is reportedly in a dead heat as both are tied at 46% with 8% undecided, according to a poll by Moore Information Group.

“When you’re looking at polls, you can never look at one individual poll, right? An individual poll is a snapshot, it’s like looking at your kid’s diary,” Johnson said. “That’s how they felt that day when they came home from lunch and didn’t get a valentine from the person that they love. It’s not indicative of the overall mental health or the well being of your 15-year-old. The same thing applies to polls. It is a snapshot of that particular day.”

That being said, Johnson stated, from the perspective of consultants and high-level Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D.C., Murray is not considered at-risk for losing a seat in the Senate.

“It’s not that Republicans are necessarily gaining in the polls, it’s a midterm election,” Johnson said. “The end party, the party that controls the White House, tends to lose seats in a midterm election.”

Since 1946, the president’s party has received a lower share of the House of Representatives’ popular vote in the midterm than in the prior presidential election, according to FiveThirtyEight. In the 19 midterm elections between 1946 and 2018, the president’s party has improved upon the House popular vote just once.

While undecided voters can make the difference for some of these closer political races, Johnson believes there is no such thing.

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“I promise you, nobody is changing their vote because they’re suddenly concerned about crime. If you are concerned about crime in a particular way, you were already going to vote for a Republican because that’s what Republicans talk about. If you’re concerned about health care, you were already going to vote for a Democrat,” Johnson said. “I know this is unpopular to say, there’s no such thing as undecided voters. And there certainly aren’t any undecided voters five days out from an election.”

Johnson goes on to say anybody calling the show right now and claiming they are an undecided voter is lying.

“I can ask them three questions and prove that they’re not – they have a preference,” Johnson said. “It’s just a matter of whether or not they want to go through with that preference.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Why 2022 midterms will be as unpredictable as ever