Midterm Elections 2022 - Exit Poll Analysis
By Everton Prospere
Volume 3 Issue 2
December 23, 2022
Image provided by CNN
On November 8th, 2022, the United States hosted a series of elections throughout the nation. These elections, called midterms (as they fall between presidential elections) play a pivotal role in deciding the balance of power between the two major parties in the country: the Democrats and the Republicans. Midterm elections also highlight demographic trends among various groups of voters. In order to measure these developments, surveys of voters as they leave a polling station, known as exit polls, are used.
Before the midterms, most of the nation expected a “red wave,” in which the Republican Party would take a majority in both houses of Congress. The media, particularly right-wing outlets, predicted this trend through partisan sources. It is factual that during midterms, the sitting president’s party is likely to lose seats, as campaign promises do not reflect their current political agenda; for example, this happened to George W. Bush, with the exception of the midterms after 9/11, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. However, a difference occurred in this election: the Democratic Party lost an extremely small number of seats compared to the predicted value, especially with Joseph Biden in office. This can largely be attributed to multiple events that occurred in the summer, including the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade and the large number of right-wing extremist candidates running for office who could not appeal to voters, such as Kari Lake, a far right extremist in Arizona. In addition, as previously stated, the media projected the idea of an anticipated “red wave.” Regardless of this perception, according to Rutgers University, the media uses “anecdotal evidence” to add “depth” and detail on reports; despite this, these outlets fail to objectively view polling, which, according to researchers, did not indicate a full Republican takeover in this election cycle.
Statistically speaking, exit polls offer important insight on the performance of different demographic groups between both dominating parties. As per NBC News, 58% of White citizens polled voted for Republicans while 40% voted Democrat. In contrast, 68% of non-White citizens voted Democrat while 30% voted Republican. This trend, overall, shows a continued support of minority populations for Democrats, while the majority of Whites vote Republican. When age is used as a lens, a large percentage of young voters, ages 18-24, according to CNN, vote Democrat compared to Republican, 61% versus 36%, respectively. However, the gap between these parties decreases as age increases, with voters 65 and older voting more Republican than Democrat, 55% versus 43%, respectively. While, at a glance, these statistics show that Democrats have a large amount of support across age groups, it should be noted that young citizens have the lowest voter turnout rate in the entire country. Political scientists largely attribute this issue to difficulties with voter registration and election knowledge due to a focus on college studies rather than politics.
While these polls offer a broad outlook on the outcome of the 2022 elections, these midterms also pave the way for the 2024 presidential elections. Researchers will continue to analyze these results to determine trends and voter tendencies in the coming election cycles.