Mitch McConnell is right. Senate Republicans have a candidate shortage
Politicians' shows of bravado have become the norm (see former President Donald Trump). That is why it is noteworthy when a politician concedes that the political winds may not be blowing in their favor.
Last was evident when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stated this week that Republicans had a greater chance of retaking the House than the Senate. "Candidate quality is a big factor," he said.
McConnell's remarks are where we begin our review of the week's news.
Republicans may lose the Senate due to unpopular candidates.
When 2022 began, Democrats' chances of retaining control of the Senate did not appear promising. They weren't in as terrible a shape as they had been in the House (and still are), but they were clear underdogs.
Today, an average of many projections and political betting chances show that Democrats are marginally favored to retain control of the House of Representatives' upper chamber.
The Senate's fortunes are changing as the party continues to poll significantly better than expected in a number of states, while numerous Republican candidates fail to connect with voters.
In other words, McConnell appears to be correct.
Recent polls from Arizona and Wisconsin demonstrate this. President Joe Biden won both states by less than a point in 2020, four years after voters in both states favored Trump. Republicans should be in a good position in these states if the regular midterm reaction against the president's party occurs in 2022.
Instead, the Democratic candidates (Sen. Mark Kelly in Arizona and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin) have taken the lead in all surveys. In an Arizona survey, Kelly led Republican Blake Masters by 8 points. Barnes led Republican Sen. Ron Johnson by 7 points in a Marquette University Law School survey and by 4 points in a Fox poll in Wisconsin.
The findings were especially significant given Biden's net favorability rating was negative in all of the surveys (favorable minus unfavorable).
Democrats were ahead in both states in large measure because the Republican candidates were also trailing. In the Fox and Marquette surveys, Masters' net favorability rating was -4, while Johnson's was -6 and -9 points, respectively.
In both states, though, Democratic candidates enjoyed good net favorability ratings.
This isn't the only purple state where Democratic politicians are somewhat popular while Biden and Republican Senate candidates are despised. The same may be said for Georgia and Pennsylvania, which Biden won by a single point or less in 2020 and Trump won in 2016.
In late July Fox polls from Georgia and Pennsylvania, Democrats (Sen. Raphael Warnock and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman) lead Republican contenders (Herschel Walker and Mehmet Oz) by 4 and 11 points, respectively.
Again, unpopular Republican politicians were to blame. Walker had a net favorability rating of -5, while Oz had a rating of -20. The Democratic nominees in both states had good net favorability ratings, which compensated for Biden's negative net favorability rating in both states.
Remember that these four states (Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) account for the majority of the genuinely competitive Senate races on this year's map. If Democrats win all four, Republicans would need a surprise in a state that they are not currently anticipated to win to reclaim the Senate.
Republicans, on the other hand, appear to be repelling challenges in unexpected places. A McConnell-connected super PAC just had to reserve $28 million in advertising in Ohio, a state Trump won by 8 points in 2020. Surprisingly close polls have been taken there.
It is now feasible that Democrats' present polling advantage may dwindle. Biden may end up being a stumbling block for Senate Democratic candidates, and their advantage may be gone by Election Day. As November approaches, the national atmosphere has traditionally deteriorated for the White House party.
Furthermore, in recent years, Republicans have exceeded Senate polls. Republican Senate candidates beat their final polls by an average of 3 to 5 points in 2014, 2016, and 2020. (On average, neither party performed better than their final polling in 2018.) To put it another way, even if Democrats maintain their advantage in the polls until Election Day, Republicans might still retake the Senate.
However, if the Republican candidates remain unpopular, it shouldn't be shocking if their Democratic opponents retain their advantages, even with Biden's unpopularity. Republicans squandered their chance to take control of the Senate during Barack Obama's first midterm election due to low candidate quality, notwithstanding the President's unpopularity.
A look at 2020 data from the American National Election Studies reveals that the few voters who disliked the President (Trump) and the opposition party's Senate candidate (the Democrat) but liked the President's party's Senate candidate (the Republican) almost always voted for the candidate they liked.
Democrats would welcome such a pattern in 2022.
Facebook is facing a teenage uprising.
Teenagers under the age of 18 are one category of Americans who will not vote in this year's midterm elections. They do, however, constitute a pool of potential future voters, and reaching out to them will be critical for both political parties.
If Democrats and Republicans want to reach today's young, Facebook does not appear to be the way to go. This is the conclusion of a recent Pew Research Center research, which I mentioned briefly in my previous column.
Facebook's popularity among teens has fallen, which is a startling trend for this millennial. According to the Pew Research Center, just 32% of 13-17-year-olds use Facebook. This is a decrease from 71% in a 2014-2015 poll.
One major issue with Facebook is that it does not appear to be addicted enough. Only 10% of teenagers claim they check Facebook many times every day.
When compared to the most popular social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Tiktok, and YouTube. The percentage of people who visited several websites or apps every day ranged from 37% for Instagram to 60% for YouTube.
All of these websites and applications are well-known for allowing you to swiftly scan a large number of images and videos. While Facebook has many of these features, it may also have a lot of writing on it.
Not surprisingly, the most addicting sites and applications are also the most popular social media sites and apps.
Almost every youngster in the country (95%) says they use YouTube at least occasionally.
TikTok ranks second with 67%. Snapchat and Instagram came in third and fourth place, respectively. Snapchat (41% to 59%) and Instagram (52% to 62%) have both grown in popularity among teens from 2014-2015.
The good news for Facebook is that over 70% of American people continue to use it. Certain tendencies, though, are concerning. Google search traffic for Facebook in the United States is half what it was four years ago and approximately a fifth of what it was a decade ago.
The final line is that the once cool kid on the block, like many of us, has become old and uncool.
National Senior Citizens Day, for your brief interactions!
Speaking of senior citizens, Sunday is a day to honor the young at heart among us. And for those under the age of 65, remember that you, too, will eventually reach that age.
Indeed, older folks now constitute a bigger proportion of the US population than they did previously. They made up 17% of the population last year, up from fewer than 10% in 1960.
And as a civilization, we're just going to become older. According to the US Census Bureau, seniors will account for 23% of the population by 2060. By 2034, they are predicted to outnumber children.