Why the 'red wave' failed, what the latest Civitas poll reveals
Published November 23, 2022
Despite numerous media reports predicting a “red wave” for the 2022 midterms, it failed to materialize for several reasons, according to the latest Civitas Poll results. Many still report feeling like the country is heading in the wrong direction, but the Republican messaging failed to move the needle in several instances.
A week after the election, it was confirmed that the Republicans have finally been able to secure a one seat majority in the House, though have lost the Senate. This, in many ways, is completely shocking.
All the polls and trends information seemed to indicate that a “red wave” was coming, especially since there is still some discontent about the direction of the country. So, what happened?
Well, the Civitas Poll indicates that there was some failures on the part of Republicans to capture voters’ confidence when it came to some key issues, specifically crime, health care, the environment and abortion.
According to the latest Civitas Poll, voters indicated that only 39% felt that the Republics did a good job explaining their goals, in comparison to 48.3% for Democrats.
When it came to what issues motivated voters, there were also some more surprises. While concerns about the economy weren’t a surprise, with 32.2% identifying it as a key issue. It was a 2-point rise since the previous poll taken just a month earlier.
The issue that appeared to move voters the most in the final days was abortion, which jumped to 25% of North Carolinians saying it was “most important issue.” This is up from just 18.3% in October 2022.
As the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case rescinding Roe v. Wade was announced at the end of June 2022, the visceral reaction to the decision in parts of the country had mostly died down. Some reports seemed to indicate while it was still at the forefront of voters’ minds, it wouldn’t move the needle much during the election itself.
That estimation was clearly wrong.
Some of the additional shifting included crime, which dropped to 4.3% from 6.0%, guns went from 6.1% to 2.2%. This could indicate that the issue of the Second Amendment remains an inconsistent issue with voters and is likely determined by whether a mass shooting is in the news.
But overall, most respondents are still citing the economy as a critical issue.
When asked about inflation, 44% believed that there will be a “higher rate” six months from now.
Given that answer, it’s unclear why North Carolinians are suddenly feeling more confident in both President Biden and the direction of the country. According to the poll, support for Joe Biden has risen to 41.9% compared to 38.4% the previous month.
The same could be said about a question regarding the direction of the country, with 63% believing the country is heading down the wrong track compared to 73% in October.
Given all of this, it’s clear that the Democrats successfully pitched the American people a vision that resonated. The Republicans clearly failed to do the same, and that’s why there was no “red wave” in 2022.