The GOP took control of the House. Republicans have 222 seats and Democrats have 213.
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How many House seats were up for election in 2022?
All 435 House seats were up for election in the 2022 midterm race. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rated 36 races as toss-ups. A shift in five seats was the determining factor as to whether the chamber would go to Republicans.
What was the outlook for the 2022 midterm elections?
Midterm elections historically hurt the president’s party. In 18 of the last 20 elections the president’s party lost ground in the House.
Redistricting played a significant role in the 2022 House elections. New lines altered the competitiveness in numerous districts, and some incumbents ran for re-election in the new territory.
After the 2020 Census, state legislatures or commissions drew congressional district lines. Both parties filed lawsuits to challenge these new maps. Republicans controlled line-drawing in far more districts than Democrats and, as a result, gained more seats in the House from redistricting alone.
Midterms are generally viewed as a referendum on the president. With low approval ratings and high inflation, the Biden administration’s politics, policies, and polling shaped the national atmosphere. The results of the 2022 midterms held true to form, with the opposing party gaining House majority.
What were the races to watch in the 2022 House elections?
12 Dem – 2 Rep – 0 Ind
Democrat Toss Up
23 Dem – 0 Rep – 0 Ind
Republican Toss Up
0 Dem – 10 Rep – 0 Ind
4 Dem – 8 Rep – 0 Ind
CO-08 New Seat
MT-01 New Seat
TX-34 Merged Seat
OR-06 New Seat
*Italicized name denotes freshman member Source: Cook Political Report with Amy Walter
What were the major factors impacting the 2022 midterm House races?
1. Fundraising in the final months
In the final months before Election Day, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) raised about $113.2 million, in contrast to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) $110.7 million. In past races, Democrats have typically spent more – especially with ad buys – during the closing weeks of House midterms. In 2020, that worked to their advantage, and Democrats gained control of the chamber. In 2018, Democrats spent more, but the GOP gained House majority.
2. Low voter turnout in midterms
Voter turnout is typically much lower in non-presidential elections. Since the 1980s, midterm voter turnout has hovered around 40%, whereas presidential cycles have reached over 60%. However, turnout during the Trump administration was high, particularly in the 2018 midterm election, which gave Nancy Pelosi her second stint as Speaker of the House. But because the stakes of the midterms were high this year, we saw more people turning up to the booths.
3. Key policy issues
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats used abortion rights to win special elections in places like New York’s Hudson Valley, in addition to flipping Alaska’s lone House seat. Republicans, on the other hand, pointed to high inflation rates, government spending, and crime rates, which ultimately drove many voters to cast their ballots for the GOP.
Who was projected to take control of the House in 2022?
Republicans were favored to win the House
Post-Dobbs, Democrats banked on voters supporting abortion rights in order to maintain control of the House. However, in keeping with midterm trends, Republicans were projected to make a net gain of five seats to bring them into the House majority.
This projection was based on a variety of metrics, including generic ballot testing that favored a Republican-led Congress as well as President Biden’s low approval rating, which hovers around 40%. Super PACS and political party groups were spending money almost exclusively in districts that President Biden won in 2020, indicating that Democrats were in a defensive crouch.
Polling was aligned with typical midterm trends
Midterm elections often benefit the opposition political party at the expense of the White House’s party. 1994 and 2010 were typical midterm elections, where Republicans made gains in the House at the midpoint of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama’s first terms. Similarly, in 2018, Republican’s got crushed in House elections but picked up two seats in the Senate.
If a president’s approval ratings are high, then the presiding party typically fares better in midterm House elections. For example, in 1998, Bill Clinton’s approval rating was 66%, and Democrats retained control of the House. In 2002, George W. Bush polled at a 63%, and Republicans made gains. Currently, Biden’s approval rating is 42%, which is similar to former president Barack Obama’s rating in 2010. That year, Democrats lost control of the House, similar to what occurred during this year’s midterms.
Redistricting affected midterm outcomes
After each census, congressional district lines are redrawn. This Nov. 8 election was the first general election since the redistricting process concluded. In the 2020 presidential election, President Biden won 224 districts, and Donald Trump won 211. Under new districting, Biden won 226 districts, and Trump won 209. Voters typically engage in “straight ticket” voting, meaning that they vote the same way for the House and Senate as they do for presidential elections.
However, when breaking down the 2020 election results further, the number of districts that Trump won by more than 15 points goes from 132 under old maps to 143 under new maps. Under new district lines, there are only 33 districts that either Trump or Biden won by fewer than five percentage points. In this year’s House race, 33 districts were rated as toss ups, which made the 2022 midterm election close.