For the last few weeks, we’ve been confronted with an array of conflicting data. On the one hand, the so-called traditional metrics presage a terrible midterm outcome for the Democrats. President Biden’s job approval ratings remain weak, while pessimism over the economy (and Biden’s handling of it), remain strong. At the same time, Democrats, aided by events such as the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the January 6th congressional hearings, Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the legitimacy of the 2020 election, and bitter and bruising GOP primaries, have eaten into the GOP advantage. Since the beginning of the summer, Democrats have gained more than 2 points on the generic congressional ballot; Democratic senate candidates are out-performing Biden’s job approval ratings, especially among independent voters; and the Democratic base seems to be re-engaged.
Tuesday’s special election in the special election in the red-leaning 1st district of Minnesota is one more data point in Democrats’ favor. As David Wasserman writes, Democrats’ nominee, retired Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger, came with four points (47%-51%) of upsetting Republican Brad Finstad, a moderate former
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