Heritage Action For America released a post-election survey and analysis Monday on why GOP expectations of a midterm “red wave” fell short.
The survey found that Republicans underperformed because the GOP lost independents, did not offer voters a clear agenda, failed to combat Democrats’ abortion messaging and lacked financial resources.
Among independents polled, 50% voted for Democrats and 47% voted for the GOP in battleground Senate elections in AZ, NV, GA, PA and WI, showing a GOP loss among independents in key races. In the House, 49% of overall voters chose the Republican candidate while 46% voted for the Democrat.
Fifty-one percent of Senate battleground voters disapproved of President Joe Biden while only 48% approved, similar to independents and overall respondents. Republicans received higher approval than Democrats on the economy, crime and immigration with independents and overall respondents.
However, Heritage Action found that 54% of independents did not agree that President Biden and Democrats’ government spending have been the main causes of high inflation.
Only 24% of independents believed spending/inflation was the main GOP campaign message while 23% identified the main GOP message as opposing Biden. Independents were more certain of Democrats’ messaging. Thirty-seven percent listed abortion rights and 30% listed threats to democracy from extremists as Democrats’ main campaign messages.
These findings led Heritage Action to conclude that despite the advantages in polling, Republicans “offered no plan, no agenda, no hint of what they [would] do. In fact, in the Senate they bragged about not having such a thing.”
“Republicans didn’t see the red wave they expected in the 2022 midterms because they fell short in articulating a complete policy agenda for independent voters. This, coupled with their failure to adequately combat the Left’s dishonest messaging on abortion, led to the disappointing election outcome,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson told the Daily Caller.
“Though this election was not the red wave conservatives were expecting, it is still clear that the American people trust conservatives to govern on major issues, like the economy. Conservatives should continue to build on this trust and put forth a policy plan the American people can get behind for 2024 and beyond,” Anderson added.
The independents polled by Heritage Action trusted Democrats on abortion by 25% over Republicans and voters overall gave Democrats a 10% edge on abortion. (RELATED: Trump Endorses McCarthy For Speaker, Warns Defectors)
The 2022 midterm elections had all the makings of a red wave, but four key issues held Republicans back, according to GOP pollster Wes Anderson. | @brittybernstein https://t.co/Y0UiflVDvo
— National Review (@NRO) December 20, 2022
The issue of abortion was most important or very important to 61% of voters in deciding their midterm vote, giving pro-choice candidates a 2:1 advantage on abortion. The 61% of pro-choice voters listed in the survey supported Democrats over Republicans at a 58-38% clip.
Likewise, 51% of independents and 53% of Senate battleground voters said abortion was very important to their vote, leading the survey to conclude that Republicans failed to combat abortion messaging.
Democratic campaigns outspent Republicans $703 million to $259 million in AZ, FL, GA, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, and WI, Heritage Action calculated. Democrats spent $450 million on abortion attack ads on the GOP, dwarfing Republicans’ $10 million in counter-ads.
Heritage Action cited the Georgia Senate runoff election as an example of Democrats outspending their opponents. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock spent $45.8 million to GOP challenger Herschel Walker‘s $24.5 million.
No incumbent senators lost re-election and one Senate seat flipped from Republican to Democrat. One governor lost and nine congressional lawmakers were defeated. With a .0002% change in state legislative seats, Heritage concluded the election was “the Seinfeld election” about “nothing.”
Heritage Action’s post-election survey covered 1,200 voters and 400 battleground voters, with a 2.8% margin of error. It was conducted with Sentinel Action Fund and longtime GOP pollster Wes Anderson. Heritage Action is a grassroots conservative network affiliated with The Heritage Foundation.
The Daily Caller reached out to the RNC, which declined to comment.