The Cook Political Report made 10 changes Thursday to its forecast of the 2022 midterm elections in favor of Republicans and two in favor of Democrats. The change comes as President Joe Biden’s job approval rating continues to deteriorate and the economy is battered by inflation and fears of a recession. A nonpartisan newsletter that analyzes elections, the Cook Political Report seeks to predict which party will prevail in every House, Senate, and gubernatorial election.
The organization uses a system of ratings to account for the level of uncertainty in each race. It defines “tossup” races as those in which either party has a good chance to win. Races that are competitive but favor one party significantly are rated as “lean,” races that are not competitive but have the potential to become so are rated as “likely,” and races that are considered not competitive are considered “solid.”
The 10 changes in favor of Republicans are:
Connecticut’s 2nd District moves from “Solid Democratic” to “Likely Democratic”
Arizona’s 4th District moves from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic”
California’s 49th District moves from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic”
Connecticut’s 5th District moves from “Likely Democratic” to “Lean Democratic”
Nevada’s 1st District moves from “Leans Democratic” to “Tossup”
Oregon’s 5th District moves from “Leans Democratic” to “Tossup”
Pennsylvania’s 7th District moves from “Tossup” to “Leans Republican”
Minnesota’s 1st District moves from “Likely Republican” to “Solid Republican”
Pennsylvania’s 1st District moves from “Likely Republican” to “Solid Republican”
Pennsylvania’s 10th District moves from “Likely Republican” to “Solid Republican”
The series of changes from all across the country reflect how Biden’s sagging approval rating is dragging down Democrats, who are shouldering the blame for the public’s discontent with the president and the direction of the country. According to polling aggregates, voters would like to see Republicans regain control of Congress in the midterm elections. However, individual candidates are also important in these contests. For instance, Pennsylvania’s 1st District was carried by Biden during the 2020 election, but Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a popular moderate Republican with strong ties to the area, easily won reelection that year, and appears set to win comfortably this time as well. Candidate quality was largely behind the two races that moved towards Democrats:
Illinois’s 14th District moves from “Leans Democratic” to “Likely Democratic”
California’s 40th District moves from “Likely Republican” to “Leans Republican”
In Illinois’s 14th district, the Republican field has struggled to raise money, with less than $500,000 between all the candidates. By comparison, the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Lauren Underwood, has raised nearly $4 million. In California’s 40th district, there is some speculation that Republican incumbent Young Kim could be locked out of California’s top-two primary system by Greg Raths, a controversial candidate who apologized after he made remarks Jewish leaders deemed anti-Semitic.
Cook now suggests Republicans are expected to pick up between 25 and 35 seats in the House of Representatives this November. Republicans need to achieve a net gain of just five seats to regain the majority. Cook predicts that in the Senate, where Republicans need a net gain of one seat to win the majority, Republicans are favored to hold 48 seats, Democrats are favored to hold 47 seats, and there are five tossups.