On historic inflation, this is an environment that Democrats face five months from election day. This may prove harmful to them.
When you look at things like gas prices from a historical context, it’s best to look at price fluctuations. If they were paying $ 5.70 this time last year, the public would be more forgiving of paying $ 4.70 per gallon.
The problem for Democrats is that at this point last year, the average price of regular gasoline was just over $ 3 per gallon. That means gas prices were up 55% from 12 months ago. No other interim cycle has shown an increase rate five months before the election.
In 2006 it was close to 37%. And since 1978, there has been only one interim year (2018) when the gas price growth rate (in terms of percentage) has doubled at this stage of the cycle.
In fact, earlier this year, the average for 1994 for interim elections was just 5%. This is about 0% when we add monthly data from 1978. This year we are looking at more than 50 points.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the two interim cycles that saw a large percentage decrease in gas prices (1986 and 2002) saw the White House gaining or at least losing the House seats. Meanwhile, the White House Party (Republicans) lost 30 seats in 2006 and lost control of the House.
Yet, at this stage in the interim cycle, the relationship between gas prices and the election results in November is far from perfect. Gas prices were low at this point in the 1994 cycle, and the White House (Democrat) lost 54 House seats.
Getting monthly data before the 1970s is difficult, but annual data paints the same picture: we are dealing with something we haven’t seen before at this point in the interim year.
Likewise, inflation (measured by the Consumer Price Index) is historically high. There is precisely an interval in the last century (1974) in which the rate of inflation (year-to-year) is at the same level or higher than it is today.
The average at this point in the mid-century cycles of the last century is about 3%. We are now over 8% or nearly three times the long-term average.
But as with gas prices, the impact of inflation on interim results cannot be predicted. Yes, the biggest inflation growth rates in two years (1942 and 1922) saw the loss of 44 House seats or more for the White House party.
The mid-1970s and mid-1978 cycles included inflation rates of more than 6% at this point, but the White House kept its House losses at 15 positions or less.
Once again, though, we are dealing with something that is on the outside edge of what we have historically seen. I’m not sure we really know how voters react.
In fact, the way Americans think about the economy as a whole is something that lacks a lot of historical analogies.
A recent survey by Gallup shows that 85% of Americans view the economy in fair or poor shape. This is the highest level of any Gallup measurement since April 2012.
The only interval since 2010 is when many Americans think the economy is fair or poor – and the White House Party (Democrats) lost 63 seats and the House lost a majority that year.
Five months, signs indicate a big Republican year
Anyone who reads my columns knows that I am pretty high on the Republican promise of this cycle. Those beliefs are based on the macro-political environment (eg, the general congressional ballot).
With reinsurance completed in all 50 states, we can now see the delicate environment look like what we expect in the big GOP cycle.
Take a look at the latest House race ratings from the Cook Political Report and the election. These outfits rate individual house races on a scale ranging from “solid” to “probable” to “straight” to “toss-up”. Inside Elections has a “Tilt” category for races between Lean and Toss-Up.
What you see is that most of the seats in the Democratic grip are now weak (i.e., only lean or worse towards their party).
Since 2000, the number of weak Democratic seats has been strongly associated with the election result compared to those in the Republican grip. If the election were held today, the average of those two outfits would indicate a Republican gain of about 25 seats in the House. This gives them about 240 seats. That’s roughly what happened in the interim 2010.
All this is very meaningful. Republicans have won a House majority every midterm since 1938, at which point they were ahead in a general congressional ballot.
Moreover, it is easy to identify the cause of the Democrats’ problems: everything we mentioned in the first half of this column.
President Joe Biden’s approval rating is about 30% when it comes to gas prices. On inflation, this is about 30%. Their net approval rating on the economy as a whole stands at 26 points – the equivalent of Jimmy Carter for the worst in this mid-cycle cycle since 1978.
This is a big problem for Democrats when voters list the economy or inflation as their main concern, depending on how the voting question is asked.
In other words, everything we expect happens when some economic metrics are historically bad.
The silver lining for Democrats is that we are five months into the election. Things can change. For example, we don’t know how voters will react if the US Supreme Court decides to repeal Roe vs. Wade.
That said, time is running out. There are a lot of political science models that do a good job of forecasting election results with the data available by the end of June of the election year. As election analyst Sean Trende points out, a lot of election results Basically cooked
From this point on.
Democrats need to hope that the extraordinary economic figures we see this year will lead to an extraordinary outcome.
For your brief encounters: Americans love the summer thermostat at 72 degrees
As I noted above, we are already in the summer with a number of actions. The heat that I find to be unbearable can ultimately lead to discussions about what temperature the air conditioning should be set on.
Polling shows that the majority of Americans like to set that thermostat to 72 degrees during the day and night.
If the statistics are interesting to you, you should read my column on other fun summer statistics, including the fact that Americans prefer summer over other seasons.
The rest are voting
Support for same-sex marriage is growing: A recent survey by Gallup shows that 71% of Americans say same-sex marriages should be valid. This is the maximum percentage recorded by surveyors. The majority are one of the only non-demographic groups: weekly church attendees (40%).
Students and personal learning: A survey by the Pew Research Center for Adolescents shows that 65% of respondents prefer personal learning after the Kovid-19 epidemic is over. Only 9% want to learn online, while 18% prefer a mix of both.
Covid-19 vaccine stability: Axios / Ipsos survey from mid-May showed that 74% of American adults received at least one vaccine. When considering the margin of error, this percentage has not changed since September.