The Democratic Party’s chances for keeping its grip on the U.S. Senate after November’s midterm elections are continuing to improve, with betting market PredictIt now putting them at 54% — up from under 50% a week ago and just 25% in mid-June.
Analysts are saying it’s good news for Democrats that Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have led to greater limits on abortion.
That outcome bolsters the view that Democratic voters are energized by the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that established a constitutional right to an abortion.
“The resounding rejection of a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Kansas legislature to further restrict abortion access suggests the motivating power of the abortion issue for this fall, especially in suburban areas,” said analysts at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in a note on Wednesday.
“However, it’s also important to remember that this was a clean up or down vote on an issue. Voters will feel more cross-pressured this fall when they are voting not on a specific amendment, but on candidates.”
PredictIt’s odds for control of the Senate flipped to favoring Democrats rather than Republicans on Tuesday, as voters in Kansas and other states with elections cast their ballots.
Republicans’ chances for regaining the House haven’t seen that much of a drop and remain strong, staying well above 80%. (Note that PredictIt says the sum of all odds can be higher than 100%, or $1, especially when they have been changing rapidly, because they reflect most recent trades.)
While the abortion-related vote in Kansas was getting the most attention, there were primary elections in a range of states on Tuesday, and an outcome in Missouri’s Republican Senate primary was seen as positive for the GOP.
The Show-Me State’s Republican voters selected Attorney General Eric Schmitt as their nominee over former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in disgrace in 2018 and was expected to fair poorly in a general election.
In another key race, Blake Masters won the GOP Senate primary in Arizona, helped by $15 million in funding from billionaire Peter Thiel as well as former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. He’ll face incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
The improvement in Democrats’ Senate odds also has come as polls in some key races favor that party.
In Pennsylvania’s Senate contest, for example, Democratic candidate John Fetterman has a 9-point advantage over GOP nominee Mehmet Oz, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. In Georgia’s race, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has a 4-point edge over Republican candidate Herschel Walker, according to RCP’s average.
From MarketWatch’s archives (May 2022): Dr. Oz, an ex-Bridgewater CEO and the ‘gentle giant’: How the Pennsylvania Senate race could shake up national politics
But Cook Political Report’s Amy Walter suggested a week ago that while there has been a “shift in opinion among many political professionals about Democrats’ chances in the midterm campaign,” it might be an “illusion.”
“There’s no doubt that we are going to see Democrats win in states where a stronger GOP nominee would have been successful. But, let’s not overlook the fundamentals. Biden’s job approval rating is dismal, consumer confidence is at or near all-time lows, and most Americans think the economy will get worse, not better, over the next year,” Cook’s editor-in-chief and publisher wrote in a note.
The additional charts below shows key Senate races to watch, as well as the performance of each party in a generic congressional ballot.
This story may be updated.