Analysis: Mitch McConnell is right. Senate Republicans have a nominee problem.


We got used to it displays of swagger by politicians (see former President Donald Trump). That is why it is remarkable when a politician admits that the political winds may not be going his way.

That was the case when Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that Republicans had a better chance of taking back the House than the Senate. “The quality of the candidates has a lot to do with it [it]”, he pointed out.

McConnell’s comments are where we begin our roundup of the week’s news.

The Democrats’ chances of holding the Senate didn’t look that great when 2022 started. They weren’t as bad as they were in the House (as they still are), but they were clear underdogs.

Today, an average of different forecasts i political betting odds they indicate that Democrats are slightly favored to hold the upper house of Congress. The change in Senate fortunes comes as the party continues to poll better than expected in several states, while several Republican candidates struggle to connect with voters.

In other words, McConnell appears to be absolutely right.

Recent polls in Arizona and Wisconsin are a case in point. President Joe Biden won both states in 2020 by less than a point, four years after voters there backed Trump. Republicans should be in a strong position in these states, if 2022 included normal medium-term reaction against the president’s party.

Instead, the Democratic candidates (Senator Mark Kelly in Arizona and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin) have led in every poll. In Arizona, Kelly won by 8 points over Republican Blake Masters a Fox poll. In Wisconsin, Barnes was ahead by 7 points in a Marquette University Law School Survey and with 4 points a Fox poll about Republican Senator Ron Johnson.

The results were particularly noteworthy because in all of these polls, Biden was underwater in his net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable).

The reason Democrats were ahead in both states was largely because the Republican candidates were also underwater. Masters’ net favorability rating was -4 points, while Johnson’s was -6 and -9 points in the Fox and Marquette polls, respectively.

Democratic candidates in both states, on the other hand, had positive net favorability ratings.

These aren’t the only purple states where we see the phenomenon of Democratic candidates being relatively popular while Biden and Republican Senate candidates are unpopular. The same goes for Georgia and Pennsylvania, which Biden won by a point or less in 2020 and which Trump won in 2016.

The Democrats (Sen. Raphael Warnock and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman) led the Republican candidates (Herschel Walker and Mehmet Oz) by 4 points and 11 points in late July Fox polls. Georgia i pennsylvania respectively.

The cause, again, was unpopular Republican candidates. Walker’s net favorability score was -5 points, while Oz’s was -20 points. The Democratic candidates in both states had a positive net favorability rating, which made up for the fact that Biden was underwater in his net favorability rating in both states.

Note that these four states (Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) make up most of the truly competitive races on this year’s Senate map. If Democrats were to win all four, Republicans would need an upset in a state they are not currently expected to win to take back the Senate.

If anything, it looks like Republicans are the ones battling rivals in unexpected territory. A super PAC with ties to McConnell only had to book $28 million in advertising in Ohio, a state Trump won by 8 points in 2020. Polls there have been surprisingly close.

Now, the Democrats’ current poll lead may be fading. Biden may ultimately be a drag on Democratic Senate candidates, and his lead may disappear on Election Day. The national environment has historically worse for the White House party as November approaches.

Also, Republicans have topped the Senate polls in recent years. In 2014, 2016 and 2020, Republican candidates for the Senate they topped their final polls with an average of 3 to 5 points. (Neither side, on average, did better than their final polls in 2018.) Put another way, it’s plausible that even if Democrats continue to lead the polls until Election Day, Republicans they could still win back the Senate.

But if the Republican candidates remain unpopular, it shouldn’t be surprising to see their Democratic opponents hold on to the lead, even with Biden’s unpopularity. Republicans blew their chance to take control of the Senate during Barack Obama’s first term because of poor quality of candidateseven though the president was unpopular.

And a glance 2020 data from the American National Election Studies reveals that the few voters who disliked the president (Trump) and the opposition party’s Senate candidate (the Democrat) but liked the president’s party’s Senate candidate (the Republican) almost always voted for the candidate they liked.

Democrats would appreciate this pattern in 2022.

One group of Americans who won’t be voting in this year’s midterms are teenagers under 18. However, they represent the pool of potential future voters and reaching them will be important for both political parties.

If Democrats and Republicans want to get their message across to today’s youth, Facebook doesn’t seem like the way to go. This is the finding of a new study by the Pew Research Center which I discussed briefly in my last column.

In a rather surprising development for this millennial, Facebook’s popularity among teenagers has plummeted. According to the Pew survey, only 32% of 13-17 year olds use Facebook. This is down from 71% in a 2014-2015 survey.

A big problem for Facebook is that it doesn’t seem to be addictive enough. Only 10% of teens say they check Facebook several times a day.

Compare this to the most popular social media sites: Snapchat, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Tiktok and YouTube. Multiple site or app visits per day ranged from 37% for Instagram to 60% for YouTube.

All these sites and apps are known to allow you to quickly scan a lot of images and videos. While Facebook has many of these features, it can also have a lot of writing.

Not surprisingly, the most addictive sites are also the most popular social networking sites and apps. Almost all teenagers in the country (95%) say they use YouTube at least a little. TikTok ranks second with 67%. Snapchat and Instagram rank third and fourth. Since 2014-2015, both Snapchat (41% to 59%) and Instagram (52% to 62%) have seen growth among teens.

The good news for Facebook is that it is still used about 70% of American adults. But certain trends are worrying. Google search traffic for Facebook in the US is half of what it was four years ago and about a fifth of what it was a decade ago.

The bottom line is that the once cool kid on the block may have grown old and uncool like many of us.

Speaking of older Americans, Sunday is a day to celebrate the young at heart among us. And for those under 65, realize that you grow to be that old too.

In fact, seniors make up a larger proportion of the US population than before. were 17% of the population last year, compared to less than 10% in the year 1960.

And we’re only going to get older as a society. Older people are expected to represent 23% of the population in 2060, according to the US Census Bureau. They are expected to overtake children by 2034.

Vaccines against Covid-19 and the youngest:A new Gallup report reveals that most American parents say they do not plan to vaccinate their children under the age of 5 against Covid-19. Only 14% have already done so, while 29% say they plan to. Voting shows that about 80% of all US adults are vaccinated.

The lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic: A new one Pew poll shows that 26% of Americans say staying healthy has become more important since the pandemic began. Americans are much more divided about whether socializing outside the home has become more important (21%) or less important (35%).

It’s always Alabama in college football: In comforting news for CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, Alabama ranks number 1 in both the AP top 25 and the AFCA Coaches Poll. The college football season it starts next saturday.

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