Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the impact of social issues. It also discusses state elections. The biggest off-off-year election is the CA recall. Newsom won.
Nathaniel Rakich and Geoffrey Skelley at FiveThirtyEight:
But here’s the thing about the 2022 midterms: Republicans don’t need a significant shift in the electoral environment to flip the House, considering that Democrats hold only a 222-to-213 seat edge there.6 For one thing, the GOP will control the redistricting process for more districts than Democrats, so new map lines alone could provide Republicans with enough of an edge before we even consider the electoral environment. Newsom’s 26-point win also contains some potentially ominous signs for Democrats. Take Orange County, the ancestral home of the state’s GOP that is now a key swing suburban county. In 2020, Biden won Orange County by 9 points, while opposition to the recall leads by about 3 points there. And if we dig into two key, swingy House seats that Republicans flipped in 2020, we see that “yes” on recall leads relatively narrowly in the Orange County portions of California’s 39th Congressional District (by less than 1 point) and 48th Congressional District (by more than 4 points).7 By comparison, Biden performed about 5 to 6 points better in both districts in 2020, carrying the Orange County part of the 39th District by about 5 points and the 48th District (entirely in Orange) by about 1.5 points. These small shifts don’t mean Democrats can’t flip those seats back in 2022 — the lines will change to an unknown extent in redistricting, for one thing — but at the very least, it doesn’t suggest that turf is getting friendlier to them.
Nonetheless, Orange County’s result might also demonstrate Democrats can still hold onto their edge in the suburbs. Even though “yes” on recall performed better than Trump, this contest marked yet another election where the Republican candidate or the Republican-backed ballot position still lost the huge suburban county — a sign that it probably won’t return solidly to the GOP fold anytime soon. Conversely, although the recall vote failed by 26 points in heavily Hispanic Imperial County, which is located along the U.S.-Mexico border, such a result still suggests Republicans might be able to hold onto the improvements they made among Hispanic voters in 2020. That’s because that result, while positive for Newsom, is similar to Biden’s 24-point edge in 2020, which is a far cry from Hillary Clinton’s nearly 42-point lead there in 2016.