Six months before the midterms, Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats

Carl BialikU.S. Politics Editor and Vice President of Data Science
May 06, 2022, 10:15 PM GMT+0

It could be a tough road for Democrats in November’s House elections, as they are suffering from both an enthusiasm gap and an expectations gap.

The latest Economist/YouGov Poll, which was conducted mostly before the publication of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision on abortion, shows Democrats leading on a generic congressional ballot question — but Republicans describe themselves as more enthusiastic about voting this year (and more likely to vote) than Democrats do. 

Even if  Democrats were able to get more votes nationally in House races than Republicans, it might not translate into House control for them. The allocation and distribution of House seats give Republicans a structural advantage over Democrats in the upcoming races. For example, in 2020, there were about five million more votes cast for Democratic than for GOP House candidates, but Democrats barely held on to the House. In 2012, a million more votes were cast for Democratic House candidates than Republican ones, but Republicans captured a 33-seat majority. The Democratic Party, which lost control of the House in 2010, did not regain control until 2018, and it took 10 million more votes than Republicans won to do so.

Among leading figures in each party, President Biden and former President Trump are most likely to be rated favorably by members of their own party. Vice President Kamala Harris and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, respectively, have the next best net favorability ratings among Democrats; Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, among Republicans.

— Linley Sanders contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on April 30 - May 3, 2022, among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll

Image: Getty