Republicans’ odds of taking back Congress next year keep getting better.
On Tuesday, FiveThirtyEight’s estimate of polling that asks whether Americans would support Democrats or Republicans in an election flipped from majority Democrats to majority Republicans for the first time since the site began tracking during the current 117th Congress. The numbers are still tight — Republicans are now at 42.4% and Democrats at 42.1% — but Democrats have seen their advantage erode since late September.
Republicans need five seats to win a majority in the House and just one in the Senate. As the party out of power, history suggests they’re likely to pull it off, but they have a few other factors on their side.
In the House, congressional redistricting data is expected to give Republicans at least five seats next year, according to The New York Times, which found next year’s district maps to be the most heavily redrawn to favor a single party since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. Redistricting is based on 2020 U.S. Census data that will stay in place for a decade.
Though both parties are taking advantage in states where they hold power, Republicans pushed their advantage in states that include Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and Utah, where Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed congressional district boundaries that split the liberal Salt Lake County into four districts, eliminating a more competitive district for Democrats. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave Utah’s maps a zero for partisan fairness. Meanwhile, in Illinois, Democrats’ proposed a map that would cut two Republican seats from the state’s delegation.
Other states, including Arizona, California and Florida, have yet to finalize their new congressional maps
House Democrats are planning to go on the offensive and promote the popular, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act President Joe Biden signed this week. An ABC News-Washington Post poll found 63% of American adults support Biden’s infrastructure plan, and on Tuesday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Rep. Patrick Maloney of New York said Democrats will hold 1,000 events between now and the end of the year to promote the legislation.
In the Senate, Republicans may also have a favorable map. The Cook Political Report found Democrats will be defending four seats that lean Democratic, in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Nevada, compared with Republicans who are defending just two seats that lean Republican, in Florida and Ohio. Three states are rated toss-ups.
But taking the Senate could still prove more complicated for Republicans than the House, since statewide office typically requires appealing to a more moderate electorate than running to represent a single district. Some feel the recent victory by Republican Glenn Youngkin in Virginia provides a template for how the GOP can win in areas Biden captured in 2020.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., chair of National Republican Senatorial Committee, told Fox Business on Tuesday they plan to win all the four competitive Senate seats held by Democrats next year.
“We’re going to win,” Scott said. “If your state was won by Joe Biden by less than 10 points, it’s a battleground state. We’re going to have races across the country.”