2022 Senate Odds: Why Democrats Are On The March To November Win

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on August 8, 2022
senate midterm election odds

With the Senate passing the Inflation Reduction Act this past weekend and Democrats getting a big win in the Kansas abortion referendum last Tuesday, it’s been a very good week for Democrats. And given that, it’s probably as good a time as any to check in on Senate midterm election odds.

Here are where the odds sit at PredictIt for party control in the chamber after Election Day in November.

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Senate Midterm Election Odds

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds
Democratic$0.54-117
Republican$0.46+117

It’s not a surprise that Democrats have become favorites to win the chamber, but it is worth reiterating all of the thing that have happened since the fall of Roe v Wade at the end of June.

First, Democrats have seen the salience of abortion rise in the polls, with the issue wiping out Republican enthusiasm gaps and boosting Democrats’ stated turnout intensity. Given that bad turnout is why Democrats got trounced in 2010 and 2014, this is hugely helpful.

The second thing is that national polls – most of which had a GOP edge in the Generic Ballot until Dobbs – have tightened. Most polls show a 2-3% shift left on average and the Generic Ballot becoming a tie, per 538’s average, in the last week.

Most importantly for the Senate odds is actually the third thing – Democrats have had a very good Senate session. Out of functionally nowhere, Democrats have passed an expansive science and industrial bill to enhance American manufacturing, health care for 3.5M American war veterans, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which saves people money on prescription drugs and makes serious investments in climate policy, paid for by taxing corporations.

Whatever you think of those bills – especially the Inflation Reduction Act – Democrats have been lifeless for the last year mostly because they hadn’t gotten anything big or substantive done outside of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which they passed right after losing Virginia, when everyone was too busy recriminating over that to notice or care.

Now, Democrats finally have something they can point to on how they’re helping American manufacturing against the threat of China, they baited the GOP into initially voting against health care for war vets, and they have a climate package which means they finally have a message they can sell to young voters, who have been loyal Democratic voters and some of Joe Biden’s most vocal critics.

After months of internal strife, Democrats have a message they can unite around – climate, health care, and manufacturing, paid for by taxing corporations and reducing Big Pharma’s profits is a message that can unite Democratic moderates and the party’s left, and one that can be used by self-styled moderates like Mark Kelly in Arizona and populist John Fetterman in Pennsylvania alike.

Oh, and to top it off, the GOP are in deep trouble in Pennsylvania and Georgia because they’ve decided to run horrible candidates.

Given that the GOP are sizable underdogs in Pennsylvania and Georgia, as covered last week, the GOP need to win both Arizona and Nevada to win control of the Senate. And, unfortunately for the GOP, neither of them are looking very good.

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Senate Midterm Election Odds: Arizona Seat

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds
Democratic$0.64-178
Republican$0.39+156

Let’s start with Arizona, where the GOP Primary just concluded, with the Trump-endorsed and Peter Thiel-bankrolled Blake Masters up against former astronaut and incumbent Mark Kelly.

Donald Trump’s own pollster had Kelly up 49-44 this week, which is an inauspicious start for the Republicans, to say the least. Given this fact, and the fact that Kelly is leading in every poll of the race so far, Democrats should feel pretty good about their start.

Throw in the fact that Masters is one of the worst fundraisers of the competitive Senate candidates, and Kelly is one of the best – Kelly has $25M in Cash on Hand, and Masters has sub-$2M – and the fact that Masters is a political novice, whereas Kelly is a proven electoral commodity who outran Biden in 2020, and you get a world of hurt for Masters.

But all of this pales in comparison to the biggest problem for the GOP – Blake Masters supports a federal Personhood amendment, which would extend all protections of life and personhood to fetuses, making abortion not just an illegal act nationwide, but would induce criminal investigations of miscarriages.

Personhood amendments fail routinely, with proposals in Mississippi and North Dakota failing and the most recent attempt in Colorado failing by 30% in 2014 on the same day the GOP won a Senate seat in the state. It losing in Mississippi in 2011 and North Dakota in 2014 shows that it is a hellaciously unpopular position, especially in a state where the 2020 exit polls show 63% of voters think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

For Masters to be down according to their own internal polling and with a deeply unpopular position on abortion as the salience of the issue is rising is deeply troubling for the GOP, and means Kelly is easily favoured.

Senate Midterm Election Odds: Nevada Seat

PartyPredictIt PriceImplied Odds
Democratic$0.51-104
Republican$0.49+104

Here’s it harder to say how Democrats should be feeling, but it’s really hard to make the GOP are favoured here.

Adam Laxalt is a former one term Attorney General who won in the red wave of 2014 and then convincingly lost his bid for the Governorship in 2018. He’s not a great politician by any means, but not nearly the horror show of Masters, which makes him the best GOP Senate recruit of the cycle.

On the other side is Catherine Cortez Masto, a Hispanic Senator who really ought to be able to keep Hispanic turnout from collapsing this year and should be able to ensure that Democrats do as well, if not better, than Joe Biden did with Hispanics in Vegas.

There’s been functionally no useable polling of this race, which means analysis has to start and end with whether or not Democrats will be able to get the turnout they need from working class service and hospitality workers in Vegas to win.

When Democrats lose in Nevada, it’s like in 2014, when the actual residents of Vegas – mostly multi-ethnic, working class, and employed in the broader Vegas economy – didn’t bother showing up because Democrats weren’t seriously contesting anything. More than any other state, it’s a turnout game.

The “Reid Machine”, named after former Senator and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has shown an ability to get the votes needed to win in tough environments, as Reid’s miracle 2010 win showed. If that infrastructure and Get Out The Vote still exists, then Cortez Masto will win.

Fundamentally, betting on Democrats to squeak out wins in Nevada has been a winning proposition in recent years, with the GOP having won federal statewide office here once since 2008, and in the absence of compelling evidence Laxalt’s ahead, that’s a good enough reason to trust Democrats.

Conclusions

Remember, the GOP need to win two of the four big races this year, and with Pennsylvania and Georgia off the board as of now because of candidate incompetence, the GOP need both Arizona and Nevada – and they’re not going to win both.

Right now, the likeliest outcome is 51 seats for the Democrats, and even if they lose one they’re favored in right now, 50 seats is enough for Democrats to win the Senate. Democrats have had a very good month, and they’re clear and obvious Senate favorites.

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