GOP surges to lead over Democrats in generic polls just 3 weeks before midterm election

The GOP is now "the favorite to win control" of the Senate, but "it is possible to envision the D's pulling an inside straight to hang on," said pollster Scott Rasmussen.

Published: October 17, 2022 4:38pm

Updated: October 18, 2022 7:34am

With just three weeks to go before the midterm election, the Republican Party has gained an edge over Democrats in the fight to take back Congress, according to the latest "generic" poll results pitting the parties against each other in head-to-head matchups.

The Democrats currently have a majority in the House and 50-50 control of the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as the deciding vote.

In a New York Times/Siena College poll released on Monday, "49% of likely voters said they planned to vote for a Republican to represent them in Congress on Nov. 8, compared with 45% who planned to vote for a Democrat."

Voters citing economic concerns as their top issue in the poll rose from 36% in July to 44% now — another sign the tide is turning among the electorate in favor of the GOP. The factors driving that shift include inflation remaining hot and the steep stock market decline.

The Republicans are "almost certain to win the House, the only question is how many seats," pollster Scott Rasmussen told Just the News on Monday.

As for the Senate, the GOP is now "the favorite to win control," he said, "but it is possible to envision the D's pulling an inside straight to hang on."

He added that "the only reason Senate control is uncertain is because the D's were blessed with a very good map."

Rasmussen, who founded Rasmussen Reports but is no longer affiliated with the company, pointed out that "winning the Senate has more to do with seats in play than generic ballot." 

Rasmussen's latest national survey has the GOP ahead by 4 points. 

A Harvard-CAPS/Harris poll (Oct. 12-13) has Republicans at 53% and Democrats at 47% among likely voters.

The survey found that Republicans are "connecting with voters on their key issues of inflation, crime, and immigration, while Americans see Democrats as mostly focused on January 6, women's rights, and the environment."

According to the poll results, Biden "continues to struggle on the economy, which is the key issue: 84% of Americans think the US is in a recession now or will be by next year, and 58% are not confident in Biden's ability to hold inflation at bay."

Rasmussen Reports has Republicans 48% and Democrats 41%.

CBS/YouGov has Republicans at 47% and Democrats at 45%.

"Today's views of the economy have gotten worse amid continuing inflation, a volatile stock market and — in a stark reversal from August — people are reporting gas prices are rising in their neighborhoods," according to a CBS analysis of the poll results. "And voters are feeling this personally: more now say their own financial situation is bad, and there's more concern about saving and paying for things, compared to last month."

Real Clear Politics is currently projecting a 52-48 GOP majority Senate. The site also has Republicans winning House control with 221 seats currently, even as 38 races remain "toss-ups." 

Real Clear Politics recently launched a "polling accountability" project to "improve public trust and confidence in political polling." In both 2016 and 2020, many mainstream pollsters significantly underestimated popular support for Donald Trump, especially in state polls.

"RCP will rank pollsters by their performance in recent elections, and will of course evaluate their performance in the 2022 mid-term election in just under a month," the organization announced. "RCP's goal here is simple. Accuracy is the foundational bedrock of public trust. To that end we will be evaluating pollsters almost exclusively on one metric — accuracy in reflecting the actual results."

Former President Barack Obama is hitting the campaign trail for Democrats over the next few weeks. Obama will be in Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Biden campaigned recently in Oregon for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek. He's also heading to Pennsylvania this week to campaign with Senate candidate John Fetterman.

CNN published a report on Sunday that said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, one of Biden's former rivals in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, has received more campaign requests than Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

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