Why California's results are in line with the GOP taking the House in 2022

Why California's results are in line with the GOP taking the House in 2022

Posted: Sep 18, 2021 10:50 AM
Updated: Sep 18, 2021 10:50 AM

Democrats crushed Republicans in Tuesday's California recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Newsom's overwhelming victory left little doubt that California is a deeply blue state, and a Donald Trump-endorsed candidate like Larry Elder doesn't come close to fitting the bill for the type of Republican the GOP needs to run in order to win in the Golden State.

But beneath the positive exterior for Democrats, there are some fairly clear warning signs for President Joe Biden and his party ahead of the 2022 elections.

One of the big advantages Newsom had in this race is that Biden is quite popular in California. The current exit poll puts his approval rating at 58% to a disapproval rating of 39%. (The preelection Public Policy Institute of California poll similarly had the split at 58% to 38%.)

This worked well for Newsom, as voters' feelings of Biden were quite predictive of how they voted on the recall. "No" won 93% of those who approved, while "yes" on the recall won 89% of those who disapproved.

The problem for Biden is that the exit poll indicates clear leakage in his support from a year ago. In the 2020 general election exit poll, his favorable rating stood at 64% to an unfavorable rating of 34%.

Put another way, his net favorability (favorable minus unfavorable) rating of +30 points a year ago became a +19-point net approval rating this year. Similarly, the exit poll itself showed that recall voters said they voted for Biden by a 26-point margin last year, which is 7 points higher than his net approval rating.

This is largely consistent with what we see in national polling. Biden's net approval rating nationally stands somewhere around -3 points to -4 points. Last year's national exit poll had Biden's net favorability rating at +6 points. He beat Trump by 4.5 points in the popular vote.

That is, Biden's net ratings nationally seem to have taken somewhere in the neighborhood of a high-single digit to a 10-point drop since the election.

Nothing in the California results indicates that the national polls are greatly underestimating Biden's popularity.

It's important to keep in mind, too, that the California results mirror what we've been seeing in special state legislative and federal elections. Democrats have been underperforming Biden's baseline, and by more so recently. So this is not a one-off.

To put this in some historical perspective, California and a lot of the special elections this year look somewhat like what we witnessed in 2017 ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, except in reverse. There were a lot of elections that year in which Republicans won, but Democrats kept doing better than Hillary Clinton did in the same places a year earlier. On a national scale, this translated to Democrats easily winning the House in 2018.

More worrisome for Democrats is that the same factor that helped Newsom (Biden's standing) in California has a pretty good chance of biting them in 2022 if we're dealing with a similarly feeling electorate a year from now.

Assuming Democrats get about 90% of the pro-Biden vote and lose about 90% of the anti-Biden vote nationwide, it would mean they would very likely lose the national House vote. This would probably mean an easy victory for Republicans in the House.

Again, this general pattern matches with what we saw in 2018. Democrats won back the House because more voters disapproved than approved of Trump's job as president, and about 90% of voters cast ballots that reflected either their approval or disapproval of him.

Ahead of 2022, Republicans need only a five-seat gain in the House to win control, and they lost the national House vote by 3 points in 2020. Even the slightest movement toward the Republicans from 2020 would likely mean good things for them.

We actually saw how a somewhat-unpopular president could hurt Democrats in swing congressional districts on Tuesday. Yes on the recall was winning in a number of swing congressional districts in Orange County, according to the Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman.

Don't be surprised if that pattern holds up a year from now. If Biden continues to be underperforming his 2020 standing in surveys, Democrats will suffer at the polls.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Terre Haute
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
Robinson
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 46°
Indianapolis
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Rockville
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Casey
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 50°
Brazil
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
Marshall
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Sunny, Breezy & Much Cooler
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday: Sunny, breezy and much cooler. High: 62°

Image

Parke Heritage Fountain Central

Image

North Vermillion Wins a Close One Over Seeger

Image

Casey Dominates Marshall

Image

Vin Lincoln Jasper

Image

South Vermillion Cruises to Victory over Attica

Image

Linton South Putnam

Image

RP Covington

Image

Sullivan-West Vigo

Image

North Daviess-Springs Valley

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1665777

Reported Deaths: 27840
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63126111168
DuPage1074651374
Will906981118
Lake795261076
Kane68004866
Winnebago40745559
Madison39883590
St. Clair36147591
McHenry34415322
Champaign26859196
Peoria26749368
Sangamon25613284
McLean22871216
Tazewell20525330
Rock Island18699358
Kankakee17795247
Kendall16104113
Macon15222250
LaSalle14954285
Vermilion14202198
Adams13072152
DeKalb12078133
Williamson11998174
Whiteside8247181
Jackson806594
Boone787583
Coles7843121
Ogle752487
Grundy731786
Franklin7276114
Knox7197169
Clinton7095102
Macoupin6893104
Marion6871143
Henry659876
Effingham655499
Jefferson6492142
Livingston594697
Stephenson577592
Woodford573592
Randolph552399
Christian530382
Monroe5236100
Fulton521674
Morgan503899
Logan492574
Montgomery487680
Lee476960
Bureau441189
Saline431769
Perry430375
Fayette428964
Iroquois418177
McDonough372360
Shelby343147
Jersey334253
Crawford330830
Lawrence329932
Douglas324737
Union305448
Wayne299961
White278533
Richland278457
Hancock271935
Clark264939
Cass264730
Pike262658
Clay257354
Edgar255249
Bond255024
Warren242765
Ford242259
Carroll235638
Moultrie228833
Johnson223831
Wabash216619
Jo Daviess214529
Massac213748
Mason211652
Washington211428
Greene204540
De Witt204230
Mercer202235
Piatt200614
Cumberland188526
Menard171013
Jasper160521
Marshall140921
Hamilton133322
Schuyler106410
Brown10589
Pulaski103711
Edwards102518
Stark80928
Gallatin7848
Alexander71312
Scott7116
Henderson69614
Calhoun6862
Hardin59416
Putnam5604
Pope5446
Unassigned1582433
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 996341

Reported Deaths: 16245
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1343262101
Lake658231151
Allen57160791
Hamilton45963460
St. Joseph43954607
Elkhart35546503
Vanderburgh31975473
Tippecanoe27694256
Johnson24821440
Hendricks23647353
Porter22735362
Madison18538404
Clark18383248
Vigo17274300
Monroe15117197
LaPorte14987249
Delaware14931256
Howard14574286
Kosciusko12166147
Hancock11597175
Bartholomew11447179
Warrick11225188
Floyd10983214
Wayne10840248
Grant9898217
Morgan9361176
Boone8819115
Dubois8210129
Dearborn815492
Henry8107150
Noble7944106
Marshall7786134
Cass7462119
Lawrence7379168
Shelby7115114
Jackson691788
Gibson6480113
Harrison641591
Huntington630299
Knox6269105
DeKalb623796
Montgomery6184109
Miami586595
Putnam573477
Clinton567171
Whitley558055
Steuben550473
Wabash5250101
Jasper520475
Jefferson504695
Ripley492485
Adams472773
Daviess4596112
Scott433968
Greene421196
Wells419787
Clay418460
White414261
Decatur4118101
Fayette402186
Jennings383260
Posey374243
LaGrange352078
Washington352049
Randolph339999
Spencer336442
Fountain331858
Sullivan326652
Starke310868
Owen310169
Fulton304566
Orange290562
Jay278445
Perry264452
Franklin262742
Carroll258232
Rush257232
Vermillion254254
Parke229726
Pike227343
Tipton225659
Blackford187840
Pulaski181155
Crawford158122
Newton155648
Benton150117
Brown144047
Martin137319
Switzerland133911
Warren120116
Union106615
Ohio84012
Unassigned0532