Saturday, November 12, 2022

Why Independent Voters Broke for Democrats in the Midterms

Trump's radioactive, it turns out. 

If he's not now, we'll know for sure after he makes his big announcement on November 15th. See how the Democrat Media Complex responds to that.

At the Wall Street Journal, "GOP candidates closely aligned with Trump turned off some centrists and in-play Republicans":

Lisa Ghelfi, a 58-year-old registered Republican in Arizona, voted for Donald Trump for president two years ago but has grown tired of his election-fraud claims. It is the main reason she voted for Democrats for governor, senator, secretary of state and attorney general this fall and plans to change her registration to independent.

“Not allowing the election to be settled, it’s very divisive,” Ms. Ghelfi, a semiretired attorney from Paradise Valley, said of the 2020 race. “I think the election spoke for itself.” She said she voted for Republicans down-ballot who weren’t as vocal about election fraud or as closely tied to Mr. Trump, yet couldn’t support Arizona’s four major Republican candidates because they echoed Mr. Trump’s false claims.

Republicans succeeded in one of their top goals this year: They brought more of their party’s voters to the polls than did Democrats. But in the course of energizing their core voters, Republicans in many states lost voters in the political center—both independents and many Republicans who are uneasy with elements of the party’s focus under Mr. Trump.

Control of the House and Senate, which had seemed poised to land with the Republican Party, is coming down to a handful of races that so far are too close to call, though the GOP remains on track to winning a narrow majority in the House. Republicans have won nearly 5.5 million more votes in House races than have Democrats, a tally by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report finds, as many voters were motivated by anxiety over high inflation and a low opinion of President Biden’s response.

At the same time, Republican analysts said their unexpectedly weak showing in the election indicated that they had failed to press hard enough on those issues. In Michigan, the Republican Party’s state committee said a failure to talk to voters in the political center was a central reason that Tudor Dixon, the party’s Trump-endorsed nominee for governor, was crushed in a 10 percentage point defeat by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

“Tudor’s efforts focused largely on Republican red-meat issues, in hopes of inspiring a 2020-like showing at the polls,” a memo from the GOP committee said. “There were more ads on transgender sports than inflation, gas prices and bread-and-butter issues that could have swayed independent voters.”

More than 30% of the midterm voter pool, by one measure, were independent voters, or people who don’t affiliate with either political party. David Winston, a Republican pollster who consults with the party’s House and Senate leadership, said polling showed that they were unhappy with the country’s direction and assigned blame for high inflation to President Biden.

“So, the door was open for Republicans to have a good interaction,” Mr. Winston said. “If everyone was focused on turnout of their base, they missed almost a third of the electorate—and basically the third of the electorate that’s in play.”

Mike Cernovich, a conservative blogger and supporter of Mr. Trump, said in an online analysis of the election outcome, “I would say the single biggest issue was, if your focus in 2022 was the 2020 election, then you were going to have a bad night with independents.”

Nationally, Republican candidates this year had the advantage of a favorable voter mix. Some 49% of midterm voters were Republicans, and 43% were Democrats, a 6-point GOP advantage, AP VoteCast, a large survey of the midterm electorate, found.

The GOP edge was similar or larger in states with competitive Senate races: 5 points in Pennsylvania, 8 points in Georgia and 11 points in Arizona. Despite those advantages, Republicans lost the Senate races in Pennsylvania and Arizona and will compete again in Georgia, where the race goes to a runoff next month.

Undercutting the GOP advantage was that independents favored Democrats by 4 points nationally, the survey found, and by a far more substantial 18 points in Pennsylvania, 28 points in Georgia and more than 30 points in Arizona.

Polling shows that independent voters have little enthusiasm for either party. Both parties were viewed favorably by less than 30% of independents and unfavorably by 50% or more, the AP VoteCast survey found.

“It’s picking the lesser of two evils sometimes,” said Micki LePla, 65, a retired respiratory therapist near Port Huron, Mich., who backed Ms. Whitmer for governor...