2022 Midterm Elections: Democrats, Republicans Are Now Tied on the Generic Ballot

Voters were asked whom they are more likely to vote for if the election for their congressional district were held today. Responses shown after Aug. 10, 2022, are among likely voters, not all voters.
Data points reflect 3-day moving averages of representative samples of at least 7,947 registered U.S. voters, with unweighted margins of error of +/-1 percentage point.
Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 | By Eli Yokley

President Joe Biden’s governing majorities are on the line on Nov. 8, with voters set to decide whether to give the president’s Democratic Party another two years of unified control of Capitol Hill or to impose a check on the president for the second half of his term. Ahead of the decisive November contests, Morning Consult will update this page each week with survey research revealing how the electorate is feeling, what they’re hearing about their leaders and what they say is driving their vote choice. 

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Key Takeaways

Democrats Lose Generic Ballot Lead: Congressional Democrats have lost their advantage over congressional Republicans on the generic ballot, with likely voters now evenly split — 46% to 46% — on the question. The latest survey marks a decline over the past month from Democrats’ high point (49%), and a boost for the GOP from its 44% low.

Republicans Increase Enthusiasm Edge: Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say they are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections, 64% to 61%, following a dip among Democrats in recent weeks.

Biden’s Approval Hits Low Among Likely Voters: Biden’s job approval rating has reached a low point with likely voters, falling from a 47% high in mid-September to 42% in the latest survey. Meanwhile, 56% disapprove of his job performance. 

Crime Second Only to the Economy on Voters’ Minds: Roughly 3 in 5 voters rate crime as “very important” to their midterm vote, higher than the 51% who said the same of abortion and the 50% who are focused on immigration. The share of voters who believe the Biden administration is making crime a “top priority” continues to rise, from 31% in early October to 36% in the latest survey.

Biden’s Approval Ratings Ahead of the 2022 Midterm Elections

Share of voters who approve or disapprove of President Joe Biden’s job performance

Responses shown after Aug. 10, 2022, are among likely voters, not all voters.
Data points reflect 3-day moving averages of representative samples of at least 7,973 registered U.S. voters, with unweighted margins of error of +/-1 percentage point.
  • Biden gets positive marks from 42% of likely voters, while 56% disapprove.
  • Behind Biden’s worst approval rating among likely voters is attrition across the political spectrum: His approval rating fell from 86% to 83% among Democrats, 39% to 36% among independents and 10% to 7% among Republicans. Just 41% of likely Democratic voters strongly approve of Biden’s job performance, matching a low point reached on Oct. 21.

Voter Enthusiasm for the 2022 Midterm Elections

Share of voters who are “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections

Morning Consult/Politico surveys conducted among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
  • Republican excitement about voting has grown in recent weeks, and the party out of power now has its first genuine advantage on the metric in months.
  • When asked if they will “definitely” vote this year, Republicans have a narrow, 3-point advantage in the latest survey, with Democrats gaining a bit since early October.

The Buzz Around the 2022 Midterm Elections

Net buzz – the share of voters who heard something positive over the previous week minus the share who heard something negative – about the following politicians, institutions and topics:

Surveys conducted weekly in 2022, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
  • The tightening in the generic ballot has not dovetailed with much of an increase of perceived negative news coverage about Biden or congressional Democrats over the past few weeks. At the same time, buzz about the economy has improved a bit, though it’s still predominantly negative. 

The Top Issues Driving Voters’ Decisions for the 2022 Midterm Elections

The share of voters who said the following are “very important” when deciding whom to vote for in the 2022 elections:

Surveys conducted weekly in 2022, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
  • The economy is obviously the electorate’s most important issue this year, but that is followed by several issues with mixed implications. Roughly half of voters say gun violence and abortion are “very” important when considering their vote this year, two issues that could likely benefit the Democratic Party, while a similar share elevates immigration, where voters favor the GOP.
  • The share of independent voters who consider crime “very important” when deciding whom to vote for in the 2022 elections has reached a tracking low of 54%, while the issue remains top of mind for 71% of Republicans. 

What Voters See Biden Prioritizing

The share of voters who say President Joe Biden is making the following a “top priority”:

Surveys conducted weekly in 2022, among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
  • What voters see Biden prioritizing is often responsive to what is driving headlines. As issues such as Russia’s war or the pandemic faded from the front pages, voters became more likely to see Biden as focused on abortion and gun policy – which were propelled to prominence after the Supreme Court’s ruling and the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
  • A majority of voters (52%) see Biden making abortion a “top priority,” comfortably more than any other issue except for the economy (50%).

Voter Trust of Democrats and Republicans in Congress

Congressional Democrats’ trust advantage over congressional Republicans on the following issues:

Issues included in the average are: climate change, COVID-19, education, energy, gun policy, health care, immigration, jobs, national security, Medicare and Social Security, the economy, the environment and voting rights. Inflation was included starting in March 2022.
Morning Consult/Politico surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022 among representative samples of roughly 2,000 registered U.S. voters each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.
  • Congressional Democrats have maintained a narrow advantage, on average, over Republicans when it comes to voter trust throughout all of Biden’s presidency. However, Republicans are more trusted by the electorate to handle the economy, which is far and away voters’ top issue for the midterms.
  • Voter trust lines tend to move in tandem – if the average voter is less likely to trust Democrats to handle the economy, they’re seemingly less likely to trust them to handle other issues. The one exception in the trend data appears on gun policy, where the party in charge saw a surge of voter trust as they, with the help of some Senate Republicans, passed legislation on the issue after the Uvalde shooting.

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About

Methodology

The latest national results on the generic ballot and Biden’s approval rating reflect surveys conducted Oct. 28-30, 2022, among 6,974 likely voters. Morning Consult’s reported results among likely voters reflect data based on a 3-day moving average, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

Morning Consult conducts daily interviews with a representative sample of roughly 4,000 registered voters in the United States via stratified sampling based on age, gender, and language (English/Spanish). This daily sample is weighted based on age, education, ethnicity, gender, geographic region, home ownership, marital status and 2020 presidential vote history.

Our likely voter model — which went into effect on Aug. 9, 2022 — includes any registered voters who say they are at least an “8” on a 1-10 point scale, where “1” means an individual will definitely not vote in the November 2022 midterm elections for Congress and “10” means an individual will definitely vote in November.

Morning Consult’s reported results among registered voters reflect data gathered on a weekly or biweekly basis from a nationally representative sample of roughly 2,000 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

About Morning Consult

Morning Consult is a global decision intelligence company changing how modern leaders make smarter, faster, better decisions. The company pairs its proprietary high-frequency data with applied artificial intelligence to better inform decisions on what people think and how they will act. Learn more at morningconsult.com.

Email press@morningconsult.com to speak with a member of the Morning Consult team.