Over the past month we’ve seen the polling in key midterm Senate races shift moderately in the Democrats’s direction, to the point that the Democrats are now slightly favored to win the Senate. We’ve also seen generic midterm ballot polling shift moderately in the Democrats’ favor, suggesting that the Democrats’ odds of keeping the House are less daunting than they were a month ago.
But then came Kansas, where pollsters predicted that a statewide referendum on outlawing abortion would come down to the wire, but instead it ended up being defeated in an eighteen point blowout. It’s clear that abortion rights are going to play a far bigger role in midterm voting than pollsters were expecting – but how much bigger?
To be clear, it will not be eighteen points. The Kansas referendum was specifically about abortion rights. Each midterm race will be between two candidates who have an entire array of views on various issues, and voters will have to place abortion rights up against all those other factors. There are also unfortunately plenty of Americans who still don’t understand that the midterms can effectively reinstate Roe v. Wade, so they may not be inclined to vote, even though they certainly would if they accurately understood the stakes.
But even as pollsters try to use the Kansas voting data to adjust their polling models, we’re about to get another real world data sample. There are a few special elections taking place this month, but none more crucial than the U.S. House special election in New York’s 19th District.
Why is this one race uniquely important? The seat was vacated when House Democrat Antonio Delgado resigned to become the Lieutenant Governor of New York. Polling last month suggested that Republican candidate Marc Molinaro was ahead of Democratic candidate Pat Ryan. This polling always felt off, given that this was recently a Democratic-held seat. But Cook Political Report has had the race classified as a “toss up” meaning it could go either way.
Here’s the thing. While most people aren’t talking about this special election yet, it’s likely to become a hot topic in the national political media over the next couple weeks. After all, it’s our first opportunity to see how the eighteen point swing in Kansas might translate to House races in general. If the Democrat wins this special election, after the Republican had been polling ahead, it would point to the Kansas shift being worth at least a few points in the midterms – and a shift of a few points might be enough to flip a few dozen close House races.
More to the point, if the Democrats win this special election on August 23rd, the mainstream media might finally start talking about how the Democrats can indeed win the House in the midterms – and this could motivate more folks to go out and vote in the midterms. We see these kinds of self fulfilling prophecies play out all the time.
That’s why it’s so important that we all strongly get behind Democratic candidate Pat Ryan right now. He’s a war veteran who strongly supports women’s rights. He’s exactly the candidate the Democrats need in this particular special election:
How can we be a free country if the government tries to control women's bodies?
That's not the country I fought to defend.
Freedom includes a woman's right to choose. Period.
Watch our first ad: pic.twitter.com/tWk8GJmErd
— Pat Ryan 🇺🇸 (@PatRyanUC) June 24, 2022
If we can help propel Democrat Pat Ryan to a victory on August 23rd, we can help push the media toward helping us get out the word about the November midterms. But the special election is just seventeen days away. The vast majority of you don’t live in New York’s 19th District, so you can’t just go vote for him. Instead you can sign up for a volunteer shift with his campaign, which can be as simple as sending out campaign text messages from home. You can also donate to Pat Ryan’s campaign, which can go a long way in running last minute local TV ads to help get out the vote. Let’s go win this special election right now, and dictate the course of the midterms in the process.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report