Independent voters are now leaning toward Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections: WSJ poll

Independent voters are now leaning toward Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections: WSJ poll
President Joe Biden speaks at the Arnaud C. Marts Center on the campus of Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on August 30, 2022.AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File
  • Independents are now leaning toward Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, per a WSJ poll.
  • In the survey, independents backed Democrats 38%-35%, compared to the GOP's 12-point edge in March.

Two months ahead of the November midterm elections, Democrats have seen a marked improvement with voters — in large part due to renewed support among independents, a rise in favorability for President Joe Biden, and increased voter enthusiasm among backers of abortion rights — according to a newly-released Wall Street Journal poll.

For months, Republicans have sought to hammer Biden on everything from inflation and immigration to last year's hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and lingering frustration over past COVID-19 restrictions.

And the president's approval ratings for most the past year has been mired in the 30s and 40s, a difficult position for any commander-in-chief in their second year in the White House.

But the latest survey showed Democrats ahead of Republicans 47%-44% among registered voters when they were asked who they'd back in their congressional district, a marked turnaround from March, when Republicans held a 46%-41% advantage.

The shift toward Democrats came from stronger numbers with independents, as well as increased levels of support among Black and Hispanic voters.


In the new poll, Democrats had a 38%-35% edge among independents, a notable shift from March, when the pivotal voting bloc backed Republicans by 12-percentage points.

Many have attributed the change in fortunes for Democrats to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States and afforded a constitutional right to the procedure.

GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio — who led the survey alongside Democrat John Anzalone — said that the court ruling aided Democrats in rallying support.

"Republicans were cruising, and Democrats were having a hard time," Fabrizio told The Journal. "It's almost like the abortion issue came along and was kind of like a defibrillator to Democrats."

In the poll, 60% of the respondents felt that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, an increase of five percentage points from March.


Democrats this fall are seeking to keep their congressional majorities; while their chances to keep the Senate have improved dramatically, most observers have acknowledged that the House will be more difficult to hold.

However, Biden's job approval rating hit 45% in the latest survey, with 54% disapproving of his performance. (In March, the president's job approval was 42%, with 57% expressing disapproval.)

The boost in support for Biden — if maintained through the election — would almost certainly aid Democratic candidates, as most have long been concerned about the president's approval ratings dragging down the party's fortunes.

The poll, conducted by Impact Research and Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, surveyed 1,313 registered voters from August 17 to August 25 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.