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GOP likely to do well Tuesday

David Skolnick

Tuesday should be a good night for Republicans as they will gain control of the U.S. House and probably do the same in the Senate, while winning other elected positions, including in states that have long been Democratic strongholds.

The only question is how many elections will Republicans win.

It’s so bad for Democrats that incumbent New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is in such a tight race with her Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, that outside Democratic groups are pouring money into the deep-blue state. There’s been only one Republican governor in New York since 1975.

A national Republican wave was expected this year simply because the incumbent president, Joe Biden, is a Democrat. The party opposite of the sitting president often does well in midterm elections.

This year feels similar to 2010 when President Barack Obama, a Democrat, was in the middle of his first term. Republicans picked up 63 seats in the U.S. House and gained the House majority. Republicans also added six Senate seats, though Democrats maintained control of that body.

In 2010, seats that were considered relatively safe Democratic were lost to then-obscure Republicans. One such Republican was Bill Johnson, first-time candidate, who beat Democrat Charlie Wilson, then a two-term incumbent, in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District. During Johnson’s time in Congress, the 6th became one of the most reliably red districts in the country.

Besides the normal turning tide, other factors also should lead to Republicans doing well in this election.

Several Democratic candidates, including incumbents, failed to campaign on combating inflation, which is the most important issue facing people today. It has led to much higher costs wherever people go — grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, practically everywhere. At the same time, many of those with retirement plans are seeing the gains they’ve made over the past decade evaporate.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows 36 percent of those polled said inflation is the most urgent issue facing the country with abortion a distant second at 10 percent.

Of particular note, inflation was No. 1 among independent voters at 41 percent and Republican voters at 57 percent. Among Democrats, it was second at 15 percent with abortion as the most important issue at 19 percent.

If Democrats have a chance Tuesday, they have to win over independents, and many of them won’t be able to do that.

Abortion is an important issue, but despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision overturning Roe v. Wade, people who were opposed to what happened and made it the deciding factor in how they vote are fewer in numbers than months ago.

Also, The New York Times reported “top Democratic officials, lawmakers and strategists are openly second-guessing their party’s campaign pitch and tactics, reflecting a growing sense that Democrats have failed to coalesce around one effective message,” which will lead to losses.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Ohio, has focused, in part, on the economy and run a much better campaign than most expected.

Ryan has called himself an “underdog” in this race, despite raising significantly more money than Republican J.D. Vance.

At the end of his Fox News town hall this week, Ryan said: “We’re going to shock the world. We’re going to win this one.”

Because Ohio has become more Republican over the years, Ryan’s path to victory is very narrow.

Most polls show him in a statistical tie with Vance.

However, polls have margins of error, which many don’t understand.

Let’s say a poll has a 4.5 percent margin of error. That means it has a margin of error plus or minus 4.5 percent. That’s as much as a 9 percent swing, which is quite large. If a poll has Candidate A up by 1 percent now, and he wins by 7 or 8 or even 10 percent, for example, it is within the margin of error so the poll is accurate.

The Senate race will be the closest statewide contest in Ohio. We will find out shortly just how close it will be.

Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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