For a while, it appeared the GOP’s momentum leading into the midterm elections in November had stalled as Democrats erased the GOP’s advantage in the generic ballot in the wake of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Did Democrats find the issue that would save them from a red wave in November?
Maybe not: it appears the post-Dobbs boost for Democrats may, in fact, have started to wane. Last week, Democrats had a modest edge of 0.2 points in the RealClearPolitics average of generic ballot polls, but the average has now swung back 0.4 points in the GOP’s favor, putting Republicans up 0.2 points. It may be too early to tell, but this suggests that the Dobbs effect is dwindling as anger and fear over abortion rights have subsided.
Another theory is that the FBI raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida has motivated Republicans just as Dobbs motivated Democrats and is going to erase that post-Dobbs swing. Polls have already shown this. According to the Trafalgar Group, 83.3% of Republicans and 55.2% of Democrats said the FBI raid on President Trump’s home increased their motivation to vote in the 2022 midterms.
If abortion is the key to Democrats erasing the Republican advantage, one might expect that Democrats running for Congress this year would be leaning on this issue heavily. Except, they’re not. Instead, Fox News has noticed that Democrats are running using messaging that sounds suspiciously like something you’d expect from Republican candidates.
For example, John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, is running an ad that blames the nation’s economic problems on the politicians who “set the rules, weakened the supply chain and spiked inflation.” Curious messaging from a Democrat when the Democratic party controls Washington right now, don’t you think?
In July, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) ran an ad highlighting how he opposed Biden’s agenda. “I stood up to some in my own party and pushed to cut the gas tax and to hire more police officers,” Kildee says in the ad. Fox News noted that Kildee votes with Biden 100% of the time. Even so, Kildee, like other Democrats, is more focused on distancing himself from Biden and his own party, believing that to be his most viable strategy in November.
This month, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) branded himself as “an independent voice” who was “the only Democrat to vote against trillions of dollars of President Biden’s agenda, because I knew it would make inflation worse.”
New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan made fiscal responsibility the theme of a recent ad and bragged that she balanced New Hampshire state budgets while cutting taxes, and even “worked with Republicans to cut billions in wasteful spending.”
“I don’t know how to interpret that other than that’s how they’re hedging their bet that Biden’s numbers are not going to improve,” veteran GOP political advertiser John Brabender told Fox News Digital.
“I think what you’re also seeing are Democrats taking back the populist message from their GOP counterparts — something Donald Trump ran on in 2016 — becoming a perceived champion of working-class Americans despite being a billionaire,” Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Ken Walling theorized.
One thing this tells you is that these Democrats and those who are advising them realize that the abortion issue is not going to carry them across the finish line. If only they didn’t just try to sound like Republicans during the campaign and actually voted more like them, too.