Science

What happened in the midterm elections? Breaking down the “election influencers” of 2022

before mid term electionThe contest was framed – by parties and voters alike – as concerns about economic forces versus concerns about rights and democracy. Those forces persisted until Election Day, when the dominant group of our influential groups really dominated.

Here we unpack some of that impact from our exclusive CBS News election voter poll, which was unveiled on election night.

What gave Republicans their (narrow) edge?

“Pressure Parents”

Republicans Will Probably Win national house vote These were helped partly, albeit narrowly, by the electorate. These were the parents who have experienced the post-pandemic stress on their finances and their children. And he narrowly reflected the nation by voting Republican.

His share of the electorate rose above our pre-election estimates to 19% on Election Day, and he supported Republicans for the House. This larger size may reflect growing concerns about finances among voters, and most of them reported being more pessimistic in the closing weeks.

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However, the Democrats narrowed the gap with them in the fall, indicating an overall tighter competition. The parent pressing for Republicans in October was 47-40, and by election day 50-47 Republicans were out. Those who made the decision late (though not by much) veered toward the Democrats.

They fell in line with the general campaign themes. Those who reported growing concerns about finance broke toward Republicans, while those who reported growing concerns about democracy or political violence broke toward Democrats.

What kept the Democrats competitive?

“the young and the Restless”

These voters got up and went to the polls, and did so in a slightly higher proportion than the Democrats leaned in October. All of this helped Democrats keep things as close as our pre-election model predicted it might.

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Not everyone indicated that they would definitely vote in the months before the election, leaving them as a major group to watch. This echoed national exit polls (which use a broader definition set of under-30s that include those with children), which similarly suggest that younger voters have turned numbers closer to their 2018 ratios to help Democrats. Voted in

How did the abortion factor?

“Restoring Row” Voters

This group is of women who have made abortion rights a priority.

He started out as a strongly Democratic in October and only progressed, going from a whopping 81% Democratic in the final vote to a whopping 90%.

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This suggests that the Democrats’ message about which party to choose to express their concern – and about what to prioritize – was successful.

For nine out of 10 of them, they reported that the choice was about personal freedom, not personal finance. So, despite what most of them called the economy bad, they voted on abortion – and for the Democrats – anyway.

In fact, any report on the economy in recent weeks reported changes, becoming more pessimistic about the economy than optimistic. Still voted for Democrats.

His share of voters hasn’t increased since October, but the added proportion of the Democratic vote certainly helped keep several House races closer to the net.

And the impact of the political right?

trump true believers

These Republicans identify as part of the “MAGA” movement and voted – surprisingly – overwhelmingly for the Republicans. They made up 18% of the electorate in our estimates, a little less than 20% in our pre-election turnout, somewhat offset by the turnout from other groups. Some of this may amount to the relative difference between a lean GOP House majority and a large one.

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But in terms of overall impact, he had a huge impact on the party – and thus was worth watching – including his influence on the candidates chosen by the party during the year and the message he promoted. Some high-profile candidates advancing to the primaries ultimately did not do well in a lot of races, including losing in Pennsylvania and Michigan, suggesting that some more centrist voters may have been turned off.


This CBS News/YouGov survey is based on 3,933 interviews with voters. A preliminary survey was conducted between November 3-7, 2022 using a nationally representative sample of 5,210 US registered voters to determine potential voters. 3,933 voters were included in the final analysis. The 3,261 potential voters who had not yet voted at the time of the preliminary survey were contacted again for a brief re-interview on Election Day, November 8, 2022. 2,125 responded – a re-contact rate of 65%. The final sample of voters was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, geographic region and partisan identity to be representative of potential voters. During election night, weighted current estimates of the total national total House vote were included as the reported vote came in. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/- 1.8 points.

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