2022 Midterm Elections: Odds In Key Races For US Senate Control

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on June 16, 2022
2022 midterm election odds

With the Senate the main battleground in 2022 midterm elections at this point, it’s worth taking a step back and checking in on the battle for chamber control. Fortunately, with PredictIt, we can legally bet on whether Democrats can keep control of the chamber.

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2022 Midterm Elections: US Senate Control

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds

With the 50/50 Senate, Democrats suffering any net loss of seats costs them the Chamber, meaning that there’s a lot at stake here for the party if they want to be able to confirm new cabinet secretaries or any judges after 2022.

The Senate map looks pretty small at first, with seven races rated Leans Democratic, Leans Republican, or Toss-up by the consensus of forecasters – four Democratic defenses and three Republican ones – but in reality, it will be four states that determine Senate control.

If Democrats are winning either of North Carolina or Wisconsin, they’re easily winning the Senate again, because they would be having the kind of night that means they held all their defensive seats and already gained Pennsylvania.

Similarly, if the GOP is winning New Hampshire, then they’ve already flipped at least one of – and likely all three of – Nevada, Arizona and Georgia before they even get to New Hampshire, so it would only determine size of the new majority, not if there will be a majority.

With that said, Democrats have to find three wins out of those four states. Nevada, Arizona, and Georgia, where they have Democratic incumbents, and Pennsylvania, where Republicans are defending without an incumbent.

At 26 cents, Democrats are probably a value, because while they have to defend three seats that are dangerously unsafe for them and their only realistic pick-up chance is a state that barely voted for Biden, the GOP is doing its best to nominate beatable candidates.

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2022 Midterm Elections: Georgia Senate Seat Odds

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds

We’ll start in the Peach State, where former Heisman Trophy winner and (more recently) accused domestic abuser Herschel Walker is trying to beat Reverend Raphael Warnock and flip Georgia back red after a 2020 bruising for the Georgia GOP.

Warnock is hampered as all Democrats are by Joe Biden’s low approval rating, but he does have three advantages compared to a run of the mill Democrat in a swing state – money, experience, and the pulpit.

Warnock is one of the most dynamic fundraisers in the country, raising $100 million for the 2021 runoffs with Jon Ossoff and running one of the best campaigns of the Trump era. Since then, he’s been a fundraising machine, and sits with mid-8 figures in the bank, waiting to attack Walker.

Warnock also just had to run for this seat, having taken it over midway through a term after a retirement for ill health. As opposed to the inexperienced novice that is Walker, Warnock got all the campaigning kinks out last time, and will be able to replicate his campaign again this time.

Lastly, the fact that the Reverend, who still preaches in Atlanta, will be able to use his pulpit to rally Black turnout and will be able to tap into the Black church as a political entity as much as a religious one will be huge. It will be hugely important to his success or failure.

Throw in the fact that Walker last took a snap for the Bulldogs 40 years ago and his domestic abuse allegations will hurt his chances of getting Brian Kemp’s level of support in the white Atlanta exurbs, and all the recipes are there for a Warnock win.

2022 Midterm Elections: Arizona Senate Seat Odds

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds

The GOP should be in a position to win this race, if they’d just do the tactically correct thing and nominate Mark Brnovich, the state’s popular, electorally successful Attorney General, but Brnovich declared Joe Biden the duly-elected President so he has no chance of winning a primary.

Instead, they’re gonna either nominate the Peter Thiel-backed Blake Masters whose main endorsers so far are Josh Hawley and Madison Cawthorn, or Jim Lamon, a self-funding rich guy who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry but is polling in first right now.

Trump is going to pick who to endorse between Lamon and Masters – the smart money is on Masters, because Trump just endorsed the Thiel-backed JD Vance in Ohio to a primary win there and Trump will probably want to repeat the trick – but neither of them are exactly strong candidates for office.

A solar tycoon with dubious ties to Arizona or a Peter Thiel protégé doesn’t exactly strike fear in the heart of Mark Kelly, the Democratic incumbent who has already shown as a candidate an ability to outrun Joe Biden.

I think this is the purest coinflip on the board, but with either Lamon or Masters, the GOP can’t consider themselves clear or obvious favorites in the state.

2022 Midterm Elections: Nevada Senate Seat Odds

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds

Democrats should win this. The thing about Nevada in 2020 is Democrats just did not care about it – they made a calculation that they didn’t need it, and they therefore decided to let it ride on an eastern strategy. Joe Biden barely went west of the Mississippi, on the basis of one (correct) call – outside of Arizona, they didn’t need to go there.

Biden made the call that if Nevada was in play, they were up a creek without a paddle anyways, so it wasn’t worth pouring energy and resources into a state with no Senate seat or House seat that was thought to be competitive before November 3.

That fact has the state looking more vulnerable than it should, especially when you remember Catherine Cortez-Masto – the Democratic incumbent – is likely going to do better with Hispanics than Joe Biden did.

A Hispanic Senator without any pandemic restrictions or any limits on door-to-door campaigning will likely be able to get better turnout amongst the service workers that keep Vegas’s lights on in ways that Biden couldn’t, and without fear of lockdowns returning, any workers worried that Biden winning would see casinos close again will be assuaged at this point.

Short of a complete collapse, Democrats should hold this.

2022 Midterm Elections: Pennsylvania Senate Seat Odds

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds

With Dr. Oz probably winning the primary – results are still too close to call as of May 19 but he’s leading and likely to hold that lead – the Pennsylvania GOP got a good-not-great outcome, in that there’s no evidence Dr. Oz will be a good general election candidate but they dodged the much bigger bullet of Kathy Barnette.

Even with Oz, Democrats have a better than puncher’s chance of winning the state, with Oz having served for a foreign military and not having lived in Pennsylvania for long being two contrasts to the aggressive western Pennsylvanian John Fetterman, who cruised to an easy victory in the Democratic primary Tuesday.

Fetterman will contrast his deep roots to the state and his working class roots with Oz’s celebrity status and on-and-off relationship to the state. In anything resembling a neutral political environment, Fetterman would win.

Oz should start the general election a slight favorite, because it’s not a neutral environment, but it’s still hard to suggest that Oz is some magical campaigner. He didn’t exactly run away with the primary this week despite a Trump endorsement.

Final Thoughts

Basically, Democrats have to defend two seats that are virtual coin flips right now, a seat they should win, and they get to play offense in a seat where they should have between a 35% and 45% chance.

That map doesn’t add up to a 24-cent price, because you have to remember that election outcomes aren’t wholly independent. If Democrats win Georgia, they’re winning Nevada – and if they’re close in Pennsylvania, they’re not going to lose by 6% in Arizona.

The market is probably correct the GOP are favorites, but they’re overreacting by how much by not pricing in just how much the GOP’s recruiting woes are leaving Democrats in better spots than they should be.

24 cents for Democrats to retain the Senate, when they only have to defend Biden-won states, and get to play offense in Pennsylvania, is a great value.

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