Republican congressional candidates have the largest lead in midterm election voter preference in 40 years, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
The poll found that 51% of voters prefer Republican congressional candidates compared to 41% who said they prefer a Democratic candidate.
The poll is a marked turnaround from the last midterm cycle. The same poll in 2017 found that 51% supported Democrats and 40% supported Republicans. Democrats went on to win 41 seats the following year, their biggest gain since the Nixon era.
While midterm elections tend to go badly for the sitting president, President Joe Biden's numbers have declined precipitously since the much maligned Afghanistan withdrawal.
Biden, who had a positive job approval rating until the summer, has seen his approval rating fall to just 41% while 53% say they don't approve of his job performance.
Voters overwhelmingly support Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure package and $2 trillion social spending bill even as 59% of voters say they're worried he will do too much to increase the size and role of government.
The poll marks the GOP's biggest lead in 110 ABC/Post polls.
The trend seems to be driven by economic factors. About 70% say the economy is in bad shape, up from 58% in the spring.
While only about half of voters blame Biden for the rise of inflation, approval of Biden's handling of the economy is down to 39%.
Biden is also underwater on his handling of the pandemic (47% to 49%), a big decline from the 62% approval he had in June.
Redistricting stacks the deck:
As if the numbers were not bad enough for the Democrats already, the ongoing redistricting cycle is going to compound the party's problems.
Republican state legislatures have aggressively redrawn district maps after the last census to give themselves an advantage.
Twelve states have already completed their maps, giving the GOP additional seats in Iowa, North Carolina, Texas, and Montana. Democrats have also lost districts in North Carolina and Iowa.
The redistricting in those 12 states is enough to flip the House from Democrats to Republicans.
Democrats are expected to try to add seats in New York, Illinois, Oregon, and Maryland but Republicans have total control of the process in far more states.
“They’re really taking a whack at competition,” Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The New York Times. “The path back to a majority for Democrats if they lose in 2022 has to run through states like Texas, and they’re just taking that off the table.”