President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have not received any good polling news since last summer when his approvals started to take a nosedive after the deadly Afghan withdrawal in August. The bad news continues, as polls show that Biden’s approval is down in all the major battleground states for the 2022 election.
Voters will decide this year the fate of the entire House of Representatives and a third of the U.S. Senate. The midterm elections have historically been bad news for the party in power, as both Trump and Obama lost control of the House during their respective first midterms. Democrats have a very small margin of error this November, as they can only afford to have a net loss of three legislators in the House and cannot lose a single senator if they want to retain control of Congress.
While state legislatures continue to draw and approve the final maps of the redistricting process — which could have a big effect on how many seats can Republicans reasonably hope to capture — the Senate map is already set in stone, and republicans need to defend all of their 21 seats and pick up at least one Democratic Senate seat. Democrats will have to defend all their 14 seats in order to keep the razor-thin control they currently have in the Senate.
However, the fate of the upper chamber will really be defined in six key states: Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Each party will be defending three of these states, and two of them (Pennsylvania and Ohio) will be an open election as the GOP incumbent senators are retiring this year.
The Democratic-held 2022 battleground states are hostile toward Biden
The two states where Democratic incumbents are facing the toughest challenges are Georgia and Arizona. Both states had been deeply-red states that were under firm GOP control for decades, but Democrats managed to win both states in 2020 partly by polarizing the election around the figure of Donald Trump. The former president, however, will not be on the ballot and both Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) will have to defend their party come November.
Biden is deeply unpopular in both states. A March poll showed that 55% of Arizona voters had a negative opinion of the President’s job performance, which might be a good explanation of why Sen. Kelly has been one of the most vocal opponents of the planned termination of Title 42 by the Biden White House.
In Georgia, the Civiqs poll has 57% of Georgians disapproving of Biden, a state that Democrats managed to win by a very small margin in 2020. The polls for Warnock are not as bad as Biden’s, but he is still at a disadvantage against the likely GOP candidate Herschel Walker, who has a 4-point advantage over the Democratic Senator.
Nevada has voted for Democratic candidates for President in every election since 2008, yet democrats have done this with small margins, for example, in 2020 Biden defeated Trump by less than three points, meaning that Democrats have small room for error in the state. While a poll shows the Democratic candidate for Senate has a healthy advantage over her GOP rival, Biden is more unpopular than Trump at the same time of their presidency, a fact that must concerns Nevada Democrats.
Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin are also skeptical of Biden
The picture for Democrats is even worse in the GOP-held 2022 battleground states. Even if Biden managed to win two of these states in 2020 by the barest of margins, voters have soured on his administration.
In Pennsylvania, a March poll shows that only a third of Pennsylvania voters approve of the President’s performance, a terrible sign for a state that Democrats only managed to win by a 1.2% difference in 2020. It appears that the only good news for Democrats in the Keystone state is the chaotic state of the GOP primary for the Senate nomination.
Wisconsin shows a slightly better picture for Democrats, as a Marquette University poll shows that only 42% of voters approve of Biden while 52% disapprove. In 2020, Democrats won the state by less than 20,000 votes, making it an even closer state than Pennsylvania.
Ohio, where the GOP has been fighting a controversial and toxic primary election, is an even tougher sell for Democrats. The Civiqs survey shows that an astonishing 60% of respondents disapprove of Biden’s performance, while only 30% approve. Hence, even if Democrats have the advantage of a settled and stable primary field, Biden’s extreme unpopularity will present a steep challenge for Democrats.