Voters are feeling 'MAGA hangover' — ​and it's hurting GOP election hopes: analysis
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix, photo by Gage Skidmore.

On Friday, writing for Vox, Nicole Narea broke down how recent trends could potentially blunt the widely-expected Republican midterm wave — including, most notably, voter exhaustion with Trump and the candidates connected to him.

"Even before Democrats unveiled a major new legislative push, bright spots were emerging that hint the midterms might not be as bad for Democrats as expected," wrote Narea. "For one, Democrats are outpacing President Joe Biden’s abysmal approval ratings in generic ballots: Slightly more than 43 percent of voters say that, if the election were held today, they would support Democrats in Congress, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average. Just over 44 percent said they would support Republicans. Even influential Republican polls — including Americans for Prosperity, Echelon Insights, Chamber of Commerce, and Winning The Issues — recently found that Democrats were leading by between 3 and percentage 6 points. Democrats are also now favored to maintain control of the Senate, according to Decision Desk HQ."

One possible reason, suggested former Democratic congressional strategist Simon Rosenberg, is the type of extreme candidates Republicans are putting forward.

"The president’s party almost always loses significant ground in midterm elections, but 2022 may not follow that pattern. In part, that may be because Democrats aren’t running against a 'normal Republican Party,' but rather a party that 'ran towards a politics that the country had rejected overwhelmingly twice," Rosenberg told Narea. "I think that what you’re seeing in current polling is that there’s a MAGA hangover... There is an anti-MAGA majority in this country."

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Far-right candidates like Herschel Walker in Georgia, Darren Bailey in Illinois, and Dan Cox in Maryland appear to be struggling, wrote Narea.

Meanwhile, "Even some Republican incumbents in red states don’t appear to be immune to a Democratic upswing" — for instance, Sen. Mike Lee in deeply conservative Utah is only modestly up against independent anti-Trump candidate Evan McMullin, and the Texas governor race appears to be tightening as former Rep. Beto O'Rourke "relentlessly attacked [Greg] Abbott, repeatedly accusing him of doing nothing to prevent another mass shooting, failing to fix the state’s electrical grid following a deadly outage during a 2021 winter storm and being the 'single greatest driver of inflation in the state of Texas.'”

"The GOP has consistently tried to blame Democrats for inflation and rising cost of living, but those arguments may be less salient come November," concluded Narea. "Gas prices have already come down significantly since their peak in June at $5.01 per gallon, and inflationary pressures are expected to ease in the coming months. Democrats also have a new weapon to fight claims they don’t care about families’ finances, the pointedly named Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which Manchin argues will 'get our economic and financial house in order.'"

None of this guarantees Democrats can fight off Republican victories in the fall — but it does mean the fight for Congress and state races could be less of a layup for the GOP than previously assumed.

You can read more here.