This summer, things were going well for Democrats. The decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade energized the party's base. As gas prices went down, the economic problems plaguing the Biden administration started to disappear. With the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act, the party finally passed some good laws for them. The Department of Justice was looking into whether or not former President Donald Trump had broken the Espionage Act. At the same time, generic congressional polls started to show that their side was winning. Suddenly, the party's supporters stopped saying that the midterms would be a disaster for them.
But it's too bad for the Democrats that the pendulum never stays in one place. Biden's "soul of the nation" speech, in which he called "MAGA Republicans" semi-fascists who were a threat to our democracy, didn't do much to help his party's candidates. Even though gas prices have decreased from their highest point, the rising costs of things like groceries and housing have made up for that. Also, the Labor Department's report on Tuesday that year-over-year inflation was 8.3%, which was higher than expected, almost certainly making voters angrier at Democratic candidates who voted for all the wasteful spending that caused inflation.
Even though it's likely that Republicans will win back control of the House in November, that's not the case for the Senate. Both the GOP and the Democrats are optimistic. For example, the night before the inflation report that sent the stock market into a death spiral, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was overheard in a restaurant in Washington, D.C., telling his colleagues that Democrats have a 60% chance of keeping the Senate.
RealClearPolitics says that if everything else stays the same, Republicans must win five of the eight Senate races considered toss-ups: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
RCP thinks the Republicans will keep their Senate seats in Ohio, North Carolina, and Wisconsin and gain seats in Nevada and Georgia.
In Ohio, J.D. Vance, backed by Trump, has a 2.7-point lead over Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan for the seat held by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who is retiring.
In North Carolina, Republican Rep. Ted Budd is 1.3 points ahead of his opponent, former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. They want the seat that Republican Sen. Richard Burr leaves open when he retires.
In Wisconsin, Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes has a small lead of 1.7 points over Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. But the race is getting closer. A Marquette poll that came out this week says that Johnson is one point ahead. A Marquette poll conducted last month gave Barnes a 7-point advantage.
Before the 2016 election, Johnson was 2.7 points behind his longtime opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). However, he won the race by 3.4 points. It seems that polling isn't all it's cracked up to be.