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Voters evenly split on generic congressional ballot ahead of midterms

Democrats and Republicans are deadlocked on the generic congressional ballot, according to a new poll, the latest sign that the GOP is making gains ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

The Morning Consult-Politico poll found that if the election were held today, 42 percent of registered voters say they would back a Democratic congressional candidate, while 42 percent say they plan to support a Republican.

Another 16 percent say they either don’t know or haven’t decided yet.

While the poll shows Democrats keeping pace with Republicans despite facing strong historical headwinds and a difficult political environment, it also suggests that the GOP is gaining ground. Another Morning Consult poll released earlier this month gave Democrats a 2-point advantage on the generic ballot; in September of last year, the same survey found Democrats leading by 4 points.

Meanwhile, President Biden’s approval rating is still underwater. Forty-two percent of respondents say they approve of his job performance compared to 55 percent who disapprove, according to the latest poll.

But things get worse for the president when it comes to one of the most critical issues of the 2022 midterm elections: the economy.

Only 32 percent of registered voters surveyed say they approve of the president’s handling of the economy, while 60 percent disapprove.

Biden’s lackluster approving rating combined with the GOP’s recent gains on the generic congressional ballot are only the latest warning signs for Democrats, who are fighting to hold onto their paper-thin majorities in the House and Senate this year.

Republicans need to net just five seats in the House to recapture control of the lower chamber. The fact that redistricting is expected to hand an advantage to the GOP only further complicates things for Democrats.

At the same time, Democrats are facing a foreboding historical reality: the party in power almost always loses ground in Congress in midterm elections.

Making the political environment tougher for Democrats is the fact that inflation is at its highest level in decades. Consumer prices rose 8.6 percent in May from a year earlier as inflation climbed at its fastest pace since 1981.

The Morning Consult-Politico poll found that a majority of voters — 60 percent — blame the Biden administration’s policies for the increase in inflation. Only 28 percent say that the administration isn’t responsible for the increase.

The Morning Consult-Politico poll is based on responses from 2,004 registered voters nationwide and was conducted from June 17-20. It has a margin of sampling error of 2 percentage points.

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