With less than 80 days until the midterm elections, Republicans are still favored to take back the House of Representatives, but with a smaller majority than previously forecast, according to a new projection.
The latest Fox News Power Rankings unveiled Monday predict Republicans to win between 220 and 248 seats in the House, for a majority of between two and 30 seats. That’s less bullish on the GOP than the network’s July projection, which foresaw between 225 and 255 Republican House seats in the new Congress.
Despite the downward revision, Republicans could still match the seat total from two of their most famous midterm wins, in 1994 (230 House seats) and 2010 (242 House seats).
At least one of the 28 races labeled a “toss-up” by Fox, in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, was described as “Lean R” in July. However, Democrats moved it into the “toss-up” category after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee propped up incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer’s Trump-backed opponent — with hopes for an easy win later this year.
On the Senate side, the struggle for power is even tighter, with Fox projecting 49 safe Republican seats and 46 safe Democratic seats. Democrats need 50 seats to keep their majority, while Republicans need 51 due to Vice President Kamala Harris having the ability to break ties in the chamber.
The Fox power rankings list five Senate races as toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. Four of those five races are for seats held by Democratic senators, while the remaining race, in Pennsylvania, is for an open seat held by retiring Republican Pat Toomey.
The new projection comes as a series of recent polls show a tightening of the generic congressional ballot. According to RealClearPolitics, 44.2% of voters would support a Republican candidate in their district, while 44.0% would back the Democrats.
A recent Fox News survey found the generic ballot deadlocked at 41%, while a Politico-Morning Consult poll last week found that Democrats currently lead Republicans by four percentage points – 46% to 42%.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has tried to change its messaging as the summer has gone on.
“We now have a presidency where the president has delivered the largest economic recovery plan since Roosevelt, the largest infrastructure plan since Eisenhower, the most judges confirmed since Kennedy, the second-largest health care bill since Johnson, and the largest climate change bill in history,” White House chief of staff Ron Klain told Politico last week. “… The first time we’ve done gun control since President Clinton was here, the first time ever an African American woman has been put on the US Supreme Court … I think it’s a record to take to the American people.”
The White House has also highlighted a decline in average gas prices from a high of more than $5 per gallon in June to $3.90 as of Monday — though that’s still up 74 cents from this time last year.
Republicans have argued that the decline is due to a lack of demand as the result of decades-high inflation, which the GOP also says is the main consequence of Biden’s legislative flurry.
Meanwhile, Democrats have seen positive signs at the ballot box in light of the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue of abortion to the states.
In Kansas, voters overwhelmingly struck down an anti-abortion measure that would have cleared the way for state lawmakers to ban or heavily restrict the medical procedure. In Pennsylvania, political data company Target Smart recently found that women have accounted for approximately 56% of new voter registrations in the state since the Supreme Court decision — 62% of which have registered as Democrats.