Republicans surged in generic ballot in September poll

Unfortunately for Democrats, the president performed quite poorly in categories that respondents considered of highest priority.

Updated: October 3, 2022 - 6:25pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Republicans have soared into the lead on the generic congressional ballot ahead of the midterms, according to a recent survey.

As of the end of September, the GOP led the Democrats by a 47%-44% margin, per a Monmouth University poll, released Monday. That figure represents a ten-point swing in favor of the Republicans compared with the same survey's August results, which gave the Democrats a 50%-43% lead in the metric.

The generic congressional ballot is not a precise indicator of party performance, given that control of the House depends on 435 separate races. It does, however, provide some insight into the national mood ahead of the electoral contest, and significant shifts, such as last month's 10-point swing toward the Republicans, provide meaningful indicators.

The House currently includes 221 Democrats, 212 Republicans, and two vacant seats. One of those vacancies was left by the late Indiana Republican Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died in a car crash earlier this year. Republicans, accordingly need only flip a net five seats to secure the majority in an election cycle that seems to be swinging in their favor. The other vacancy is the seat of former Florida Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who left office to run for governor against incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis.

President Joe Biden's approval rating stands at 38% in the survey, a generally lower figure than those in some metrics which have seemed to portray a modest recovery for the president's public image. Biden remains underwater in most surveys and commands dismal ratings when broken down by issue.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the president performed quite poorly in categories that respondents considered of highest priority. A total of 82% of respondents ranked inflation as "extremely or very important" but only 30% backed Biden's handling of the issue.

Crime came in second with 72% prioritizing it. Just 32% approved of the president in that category. Elections and voting issues, unemployment, immigration, and infrastructure concerns ranked third through sixth, respectively.

Abortion came in at seventh, a bad sign for the party that had hoped to benefit from outrage over the Dobbs v. Jackson decision denying a constitutional right to the procedure.

The survey has a +/- 3.5% margin of error.

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