Republicans’ attacks on “socialism” and “defund the police”….
It’s possible there was a late GOP surge that polls missed….
There where lessons listed for everyone….
In 2018, Democrats won most of the Toss Ups and even four seats we had rated as “leaning” or “likely” Republican — not entirely dissimilar. But this time, instead of a strong majority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is left with 222 seats and virtually no margin for error — especially with Reps. Cedric Richmond (LA-02), Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Marcia Fudge (OH-11) set to decamp for administration posts.
The only races where Democrats are still holding out hope are New York’s 22nd CD, where Rep. Anthony Brindisi trails by 12 votes pending a court-ordered recanvass of votes, and Iowa’s 2nd CD, where Democrat Rita Hart is contesting her GOP opponent’s certified six vote margin before the House Administration Committee. Otherwise, 25 of the 27 Toss Ups broke to the GOP.
It’s clear that we and others in our frenzied, polling-addicted sphere misjudged the down-ballot environment more than in any cycle in recent memory and must assess the polls’ (and our own) blind spots before moving on.
Our approach to rating races in 2020 was the same as in the past: we construct our analysis based on recent election results and trends, publicly available polling and fundraising data, and hundreds of off-the-record conversations with candidates, party committees, outside groups, pollsters, consultants and state-based journalists. And yet, this time much of it led us and others astray.
So, what happened? And what lessons can we draw for 2022? With the benefit of a month to reflect, here are five takeaways from 2020’s surprises and three lessons for how we might recalibrate our approach for the next cycle….