Winning the midterm election could be an uphill battle for Delaware Valley incumbent U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D) and an easy task for incumbent U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R).
The National Republican Congressional Committee updated its poll of 77 “battleground districts,” which President Joe Biden won by nearly six points just over a year ago. Today, Biden’s approval in those same congressional districts is just 40 percent, while 55 percent of voters disapprove. And Republicans lead the generic-ballot question by four points, too.
Those numbers are significant because the voters are all in potential pick-up districts like Fitzpatrick’s 1st Congressional District and Houlahan’s 6th District, while leaving out voters in both deep blue and deep red communities.
“Pennsylvania voters are ready to replace House Democrats and their unending crises with Republicans who will solve them,” claims NRCC spokeswoman Samantha Bullock.
Chester County Democratic Committee Chair Charlotte Valyo doesn’t buy into a single poll dictating an election. “Keep in mind any poll is a snapshot, but life is an ever-changing streaming video,” Valyo said to Delaware Valley Journal. “It’s important to look at where we are going, not necessarily where have been, and Democrats have concrete plans for where we think our county, its communities, our state, and our nation should go.”
Some of this change could stem from Pennsylvania’s recent legislative redistricting. Both districts were impacted by a geographic shift, and with it, voters. Redistricting likely changed the makeup of voters in each district, and therefore, the outlook for incumbent candidates.
“With new districts, I’m thrilled to continue to campaign to serve our community in PA-06,” Houlahan tweeted after the announcement of her district’s new shape. “Serving the people of Chester and Berks Counties is the honor of my lifetime, and I intend to continue my work to rebuild the local economy, drive down the costs of everyday purchases, and ensure that our kids receive a world-class education, and to do so in a bipartisan manner, will continue to be my focus.”
Five Republican candidates are running in the May primary for the change to challenge Houlahan, including former Chester County Chamber of Commerce President Guy Ciarrocchi, small business owner Stephen Fanelli, chemical engineer Bob Kennedy, businesswoman Regina Mauro, and Realtor Ronald Vogel.
Grinnell College recently released a national poll. It found Americans’ outlook on the economy is bleak. The poll found only 27 percent of Americans believe the economy will improve within the next year. And 58 percent disapprove of the way Biden is handling the economy.
That data–coupled with the historic trend of a president’s party performing poorly in midterm elections–should have Republicans feeling confident going into May. But Pennsylvania GOP strategists aren’t celebrating yet.
“Things keep going from bad to worse for President Biden, but as any sports fan will tell you, ‘Lotta game left,’” quips Charlie O’Neill, former Deputy Executive Director of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania. “I’m optimistic, but caution against counting victories before the vote. Republicans need to continue reminding voters just how unpopular Biden’s policies are from now through November. Biden is going to seek pivots at every turn, Republicans need to hold his feet to the fire.”
The impact of redistricting, plus Biden’s plummeting approval ratings seem to spell trouble for Democrats. Though, not everyone is convinced. Veteran D.C. Democratic strategist Joel Payne, isn’t buying what these polls are selling.
“President Biden is experiencing what most incumbents would in his situation,” Payne said. “His pathway out is to tell a better story on the economy, continue positive momentum on COVID, and continue to let Republicans trip themselves up with culture war issues that drive away independents.”
Unfortunately for Democrats, another poll dropped Sunday showing Biden’s approval rating reached a new low, according to an NBC News. It fell to 40 percent, while 55 percent of Americans disapproved of how he’s handling his job.