2022 Midterm Elections: Party Control Odds After Abortion Ruling

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on June 28, 2022
2022 midterm elections

After Friday’s Supreme Court decision to fully overturn Roe v Wade and allow state control over abortion law, the political calculus for 2022 midterm elections has been entirely overturned, and with it, potentially the Republican Party’s current status as substantial favorites to control both the House and Senate.

Which party will control the Senate, in particular, may be changing with this polarizing SCOTUS decision. With PredictIt, you can legally wager on these political outcomes in the United States. Just click BET NOW to get up to $80 free, and click on any of the odds below to make your predictions.

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2022 Midterm Elections: Balance of Power Odds

To Control HousePredictIt PriceImplied Odds
R House, R Senate$0.71-245
R House, D Senate$0.21+376
D House, D Senate$0.12+733
D House, R Senate$0.03+3233

2022 Midterm Elections: House of Representatives Odds

Which party will control the House after 2022 election?

To Control HousePredictIt PriceImplied Odds
Democratic$0.88-733
Republican$0.15+567

Market Analysis

The best case scenario for Democrats would be that the Roe repeal ends up costing the GOP across the board enough that they can hold the House this year, giving them a potential path to another two years of unified control and two years to try and maybe pass, amongst other things, a federal law protecting abortion access.

The thing is, there’s a path for Democrats to win the House, but it is extraordinarily narrow. Because of court losses in New York and the GOP legislature in Florida caving to Ron DeSantis, what looked at points of this year to be a fairly unbiased map still actually has a Republican bias.

My best estimate is that Democrats would need to win the House popular vote by 2% to win the House, which would be on the very low side of historical results given this is a midterm – and would also be incongruent with the idea of their President having a 39% approval.

Yes, some of those people who have a negative approval of Biden are Democrats upset he hasn’t done enough, or independents who hate Biden but will hate Republican candidates more, but the problem for Democrats is that not enough people truly care about House races. Can they get enough voters in 2022, knowing it won’t be near the same number for the 2024 Presidential election?

Most people might be able to name their Senators, maybe their Congressperson, but the idea that large numbers of independents and swing voters will vote for their Democratic incumbent on the basis of their Republican opponent having anti-abortion or otherwise fringe views is for the birds.

Yes, the GOP will throw away some number of districts away on bad candidates, but the idea that this will be enough to swing the nation far enough to give Democrats a fighting chance in the Senate is probably a liberal fantasy from many of the same people who presented Biden winning Texas in 2020.

Yes, the GOP have many pro-choice voters who might be motivated enough by the decision in Dobbs to change their votes, but the pockets of pro-choice Republicanism are mostly in districts that voted for Trump by double digits, like the Texas 24th or Georgia 6th, which makes them good medium term targets and bad 2022 targets when Democrats need to play defence, not offence.

Will this ruling make some seats, like the Virginia Beach-centered Virginia 2nd more likely to go Democratic, as socially liberal Romney-Biden voters stay with Democrats? Sure. It also makes races like Ohio 9th, where the GOP are trying to flip the right-trending northwest Ohio seat red, more likely to go Republican as anti-choice Obama-Trump voters stay red.

Raising the salience of abortion is likely a net benefit to Democrats based on the House map, but it is not likely a sufficient benefit to the party to overcome the structural bias of the maps and Biden’s bad approval ratings and win the House for the Democratic Party.

2022 Midterm Elections: Senate Odds

Which party will control the Senate after 2022 election?

If both parties have 50 seats, the Democrats will be ruled the winning side of this market, having the Vice President to break ties on all Senate votes.

To Control SenatePredictIt PriceImplied Odds
Democratic$0.70-233
Republican$0.33+203

Market Analysis

That said, the Democratic Party probably became Senate favorites because of Friday’s Dobbs ruling.

Per the 2020 AP/Fox News exit polling, 68% of Nevada’s voters, 60% of Pennsylvania’s, and 63% of Arizonans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. In Georgia, it’s only 53%, but Democrats do much better with anti-choice religious Blacks in Georgia, so that decline isn’t a problem.

The reason Democrats do much worse in Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Arizona than their stated abortion position is that Republicans did better in 2020 with pro-choice voters than Democrats do with anti-choice voters. If you think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, you’re more likely to vote Republican despite other issues with their platform than legal in most/all cases voters are to vote Democratic.

Basically, Democrats are less likely to lose voters if this race becomes more polarized on the axis of abortion rights than Republicans, because they’ve already lost most of their white, anti-choice base, while the GOP have miles still to fall with white social liberals.

Yes, Democrats might suffer some issues with Hispanic voters, but the Hispanic voters in Nevada and Arizona are overwhelmingly pro-choice – this isn’t South Texas, where Dobbs probably kills Democratic hopes in the Rio Grande. And amongst the white socially liberal suburban areas, Dobbs means Democrats at least hold their 2020 advances, if not does better.

I’m not quite as optimistic about Pennsylvania, partially because Democrats still have a lot of ground to fall with socially conservative voters in the middle of the state and in the Northeast, but also because I don’t think John Fetterman is a good person to be making a pro-abortion rights argument, but also, Dr. Oz might just be a truly horrible GOP nominee.

Georgia is in theory a concern for Democrats if you are only looking at this superficially, but again, the reason it’s only 53% pro-choice is because of the Black church. Like, these anti-choice voters are not suddenly going to become Republicans for obvious historical reasons, even if they oppose abortion rights on religious grounds.

It’s also worth nothing that in New Hampshire, Democrats are only 58 cents to win that Senate seat, an absurd price for a state which Biden won by 7%, has a 2020 electorate where 68% of the voters think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and the GOP are going to run a bad candidate because all their good ones said no.

Nevada and Georgia should be fine for Democrats, and then they need one of Pennsylvania and Arizona. In the past, I’ve thought Mark Kelly is in trouble in Arizona, but against the Trump-endorsed, election denialist Blake Masters in a state with severe restrictions on abortion, Kelly should be able to continue biting into the GOP’s traditional pro-choice but tax cuts friendly base to win.

Even if he doesn’t, it’s a better than 50/50 shot that either Kelly rides that wave of discontent to winning again or John Fetterman beats Dr. Oz, even if it is decidedly my position that those pro-Fetterman polls are probably wrong.

Democrats just need to win 3 of the four competitive seats, and with such heavily pro-choice electorates, incumbents running against mediocre to bad Republican opponents in three of the four, and Dr. Oz being the least popular major party nominee in any swing state this cycle, Democrats have multiple routes to 50 seats and a decent chance at 51, even.

Related Market: How many Senate seats will GOP control after the midterms?

To Control HousePredictIt PriceImplied Odds
46 or fewer$0.03+3233
47$0.03+3233
48$0.06+1567
49$0.09+1011
50$0.11+809
51$0.14+614
52$0.17+488
53$0.19+426
54$0.16+525
55$0.09+1011
56 or more$0.07+1329

Closing Thoughts

The overturning of Roe will not be a panacea for Democrats – its effects will be limited to a handful of states and districts where pro-choice, Trump voters live, and where there are large numbers of Romney-Biden voters who might have otherwise been attracted to vote Republican in 2022.

The chances it saves Democrats in the House are slim to none, but it isn’t impossible that Democrats could win. A 13% chance is probably a fair price. That said, the Senate odds are where reality and the odds diverge – Democrats have a much better chance of winning the Senate than that, and I think this decision might actually cost the GOP the chamber.

Best of luck navigating the 2022 midterm elections landscape.

Evan Scrimshaw Avatar
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Evan Scrimshaw

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