by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The 2022 midterm elections had all the makings of a red wave, but four key issues held Republicans back, according to GOP pollster Wes Anderson.
Anderson told reporters on Monday that Republicans did not see the predicted wins on Election Night because the party failed to capture the independent vote, offered no value proposition for voters, failed to combat Democrats’ abortion messaging, and had a lack of resources.
In recapping the results of a Heritage Action post-election national survey conducted between November 16 and 20, Anderson said the ingredients for a wave were all there: A majority of respondents said the country was on the wrong track (68 percent) and President Biden had a 53 percent disapproval rating nationally. Among independents, 44 percent approved of the job the president is doing, while 52 percent disapproved. Fifty-one percent of voters in Senate battleground states said they disapproved, while 48 percent said they approved.
“The party in power should should feel the consequences in a significant manner,” he said. “They did not.”
A majority of respondents trusted Republicans over Democrats to handle three key issues: the economy, immigration, and crime. A majority of independents also trusted Republicans over Democrats to handle the three issues.
But Anderson said Republicans lost voters by offering “no plan, no agenda, no hint of what they will do.”
“In fact, in the Senate they bragged about not having such a thing,” he said.
The poll found 27 percent of independents did not know what the Republican message was, compared to 17 percent who said the same of the Democrats.
Anderson dubbed the 2022 midterms the “Seinfeld election” because it was an “election about nothing.”
He noted the Wisconsin Senate race was the exception to the rule, where allies of Republican Senator Ron Johnson spent a significant amount of money and created a unified, disciplined message against Mandela Barnes’s record on crime.