Abortion backed, Latinos move right and other takeaways

Elections 2022

Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is picture during a debate against Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, at Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2022. (Crystal Vander Weit/TCPalm.com via AP, Pool)

(NewsNation) — As political strategists begin pouring over data from the 2022 midterms, some things are clear today: there was no national “red wave,” Americans remain deeply divided and it was a bad night for former President Donald Trump.

Other questions will likely be debated for years: How much were Democrats helped by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade? Did 2020 election denialism hurt GOP candidates in battleground states?

Here are some early takeaways based on what we know so far.

1 – waves were local, not national

Cable news pundits talk about elections in national terms but the 2022 midterms proved that local conditions often have a greater impact on outcomes.

After much hype, there was no sweeping “red wave” but there were waves, both red and blue, in specific states.

In Florida — once considered a battleground state — incumbent Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis cruised to victory by nearly 20 points, while GOP Senator Marco Rubio won by a comfortable 16-point margin. Both did so by flipping Miami-Dade county, an area President Biden won by seven points in 2020.

“A world in which Democrats can’t win Miami-Dade County is a world in which there is zero path to victory statewide for Democrats in Florida,” said Kiel Williams, a senior data scientist with Decision Desk HQ.

Republicans in the Sunshine State also flipped three congressional seats and now control 20 of Florida’s 28 seats in the U.S. House. At the state level, the Florida GOP now holds a supermajority in both chambers.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats had a big night in Michigan. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer defeated her GOP challenger Tudor Dixon by more than 10 points. Democrats also notched comfortable wins in the races for attorney general and secretary of state.

Michiganders resoundingly approved a measure that enshrines abortion rights in the state constitution. Tuesday’s victory marks the first time in nearly 40 years that Michigan Democrats will control all branches of state government.

2 – latinos shifted right but dems held on

Republicans were hopeful that concerns around inflation and the economy would accelerate Latinos’ shift rightward, but the 2022 midterms paint a more complicated picture.

More than half of Latino voters went for DeSantis and Rubio in Florida after leaning toward Biden in 2020, exit polling from the Associated Press found. That performance was especially pronounced among Cuban voters, about 60% of whom supported Trump in 2020 and almost 75% backed DeSantis in 2022.

National exit polling shows Latinos did move toward Republicans overall but still preferred Democrats. About 40% of self-identified “Latinos or Hispanics” voted for GOP candidates compared to 33% in 2018, according to AP VoteCast polling.

Despite the shift, many Democrats won by large margins in heavily Latino districts that were considered to be competitive.

In South Texas — where Latino voters have shifted toward Republicans in recent elections — Democrat Vicente Gonzalez defeated GOP candidate Mayra Flores in the state’s 34th congressional district by more than eight points.

Longtime Democratic incumbent Henry Cuellar — who is considered to be one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus — defended his seat in Texas’s 28th congressional district by more than 13 points.

However, Republican Monica De La Cruz did manage to pull off a win in South Texas’s 15th Congressional district, which could be a sign of things to come.

“Once upon a time, all three of these districts were very safe Democratic districts, and today that’s not the case,” said Williams.

Elsewhere, Democrats won narrowly in Colorado’s 8th congressional district and New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district — both of which are heavily Latino and were considered to be toss-ups heading into Election Day.

3 – results at the top impacted down ballot races

In some cases, candidates who ultimately lost but overperformed expectations helped their party down ballot. Conversely, other races saw the winning candidate underperform expectations which potentially hurt their party down ballot.

Williams pointed to Ohio and New York as evidence of this phenomenon.

In New York, Democratic Incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul survived a challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, retaining her seat by just 5 points. That’s a narrow margin considering no GOP candidate has won statewide since 2002.

Hochul’s difficulties may have boosted GOP candidates in New York’s congressional races. Republicans in the Empire State are on pace to flip four seats in the U.S. House. One of those seats belonged to Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In Ohio, Democrat Tim Ryan beat many expectations despite losing the state’s Senate race.

Ryan’s performance may have helped Democrats elsewhere, Williams said, pointing to Democratic victories in Ohio’s 1st and 13th congressional districts.

4 – americans back abortion rights

Across the country, Americans in red and blue states supported ballot measures protecting abortion rights.

In California, Vermont and Michigan voters backed constitutional amendments enshrining reproductive rights in law.

In Kentucky, voters shot down a measure that would have blocked abortion in the state.

Other candidates in conservative states likely benefited from previous referendums on abortion.

The Democratic incumbent governor in Kansas, Laura Kelly, defended her seat by defeating Republican Derek Schmidt. In August, Kansas voters overwhelmingly opposed a measure that would have allowed the GOP-controlled legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortion outright.

“(The Sumpreme Court decision) probably was something that helped (Kelly) survive in a state that typically is not friendly turf to Democrats,” said Williams.

5 – swing voters reject election deniers

Nationwide, candidates that embraced election denialism struggled in battleground states. Trump-backed GOP candidate Don Bolduc lost handily in the New Hampshire Senate race. Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — who regularly promoted lies about the 2020 election — lost by nearly 15 points in Pennsylvania.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede after losing the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia, lost her rematch with Brian Kemp. This time, Abrams did accept the results.

It’s too soon know definitively whether persuadable voters preferred one party over the other, in general, but exit surveys suggests moderates may have helped Democrats outperform expectations.

According to AP Votecast polling, self-identified moderates chose Democrats (54%) over Republicans (40%). The margin among self-identified Independents was much closer — 42% reported voting Democrat versus 39% who said they voted Republican.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022