MSNBC Polling Guru Breaks Down How Republicans Could Win Big In Midterms


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MSNBC data reporter Steve Kornacki said Tuesday morning that Republicans could make big gains in the 2022 midterm elections, citing President Joe Biden’s approval rating and historical “wave” elections that yielded major victories for the opposition party.

“The president’s job approval rating typically has been most closely associated with the results here, and you see Biden where he’s at right now this morning, an average of a 42.9% approval rating,” Kornacki told “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. “Let’s take every recent president at this point, 28 days out from their first midterm, what were their average approval ratings? You can see where the 42.9 fits in. It’s right there. Less than Trump, a couple points under Obama. Basically identical to Bill Clinton back in 1994.” (RELATED: ‘Brutal’: MSNBC Elections Analyst Delivers Dire Data For Dem Midterm Hopes)

Kornacki noted that the generic ballot was close, with Republicans holding a slight lead in the RealClearPolitics average, but not as large as past generic ballots in so-called “wave” elections like 1994, 2006, 2010 and 2018. Kornacki noted Republicans had a two-point lead in the RCP average generic ballot in the 2014 midterm election, when they took control of the Senate.

A Rasmussen poll of likely voters showed Republicans had a four-point lead in the generic ballot, while an Insider Advantage poll reported Republicans had a two-point lead. Polls of registered voters by NewsNation and Politico/Morning Consult gave Democrats one-point and three-point advantages, respectively.

Republican candidates have discussed the economy, gas prices, inflation and crime, where polls have shown they have double-digit leads among voters.


“What you’re looking at here, 18, 14, 10, 06, these are the four most recent midterm wave elections where the opposition party made tremendous gains in the midterms,” Kornacki explained. “This is what the generic ballot looked like at this point. Four years ago, at this time, you could see the Democratic wave coming. 2010 you could see the Republican wave coming. 2006, the Democratic wave. The Republicans, I think, are hoping for that maybe 2014, you know, it was only two points, the generic ballot at this point.”

Kornacki then turned to how Americans felt about what issues were important in the upcoming midterms, noting that the abortion issue had energized Democratic voters since the Supreme Court upheld a Mississippi law restricting most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Democrats have been campaigning on this issue, but Independents and voters in battleground states have been focused on the economy, crime and inflation.

“There was an uptick in Democratic support over the course of the summer that led to Democrats around Labor Day into September actually leading on the generic ballot, and I think there were probably a couple of factors involved there, but I do think the Dobbs decision was one of them,” Kornacki said.

“When you look at our most recent NBC poll here and ask folks, what is the single most important issue that is going to drive your vote in the midterm elections, a combined 34% cite either jobs, the economy or inflation and you combine those two, that’s the biggest single number you’re going to get and on that question, Republicans have a nearly 30-point advantage over the Democrats,” he added.

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