25 October 2018

Update

United States midterm elections

The President may not be on the ballot, but the midterms are commonly seen as public referendums on presidential administrations.

United States midterm elections

Midterm elections do not usually receive much pick up abroad. However, with President Trump getting plenty of media attention and trade wars being frequently mentioned alongside international volatility, next month’s midterm elections will be watched by many overseas. 

In November, the United States will hold midterm elections – all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and one-third of the seats in the Senate are to be contested. In addition, a considerable number of important state-level seats will be fought, most notably the governorships of 36 states.

Midterm elections have deep ramifications on American politics. While the President is not on the ballot, the midterms are commonly seen as public referendums on presidential administrations. Poll numbers are predicting that the Democrat base is more energised and eager to vote than usual – which could sweep them back into legislative power.

The results of the midterms are vital to President Trump’s ability to follow through on his policy priorities during the remainder of his term. These will likely be derailed if his party loses control of the House or Senate.

The Republicans face a mountain to climb if they want to hold onto both the House and their slim majority in the Senate. They will continue to campaign on the comprehensive tax reform package passed into law last December – the only major legislative accomplishment of Trump’s presidency to date.  Democrats are courting a younger activist crowd, focusing on issues such as immigration reform, gun control, and the ongoing investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

National polls point to a Democrat takeover of the House of Representatives – out of the 36 seats in the House widely labelled “toss-ups”, 34 are held by Republicans. The Senate feels more stable for the Republicans, since Democrats hugely outnumber Republicans in seats to be defended.

Despite the barrage of scandals, policies like the “zero-tolerance” illegal immigration policy at the Mexican border, and reports of chaos inside the White House, the President’s voting bloc has not abandoned him. His approval rating remains upwards of 85% inside the Republican voter base. This apparent erosion of a middle ground benefits Trump, turning the midterms into a battle of hardcore voting bases instead of a race to the middle.

For more information please contact Will.McGarrigle@cbi.org.uk or John.Bleed@cbi.org.uk