Tuesday’s election results beat historical patterns and some of the polling averages and forecasts, with Democrats — as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it — “beating expectations,” though Republicans recorded double-digit victories in Florida, a longtime swing state, celebrated.
ABC News hasn’t forecast which party will control either the House or Senate, and Republicans could flip both chambers, which would match past results for the minority party a half-year from now.
With votes still being counted, here are the key takeaways from Tuesday’s results, including notable race predictions and voting decisions.
The Democrats’ outperformance is best understood in victories early Wednesday, which Republicans haven’t seen across the board despite past years of the midterm wave — such as in 2010 and 2018 — when the party in power lost dozens of House seats .
Given President Joe Biden’s low approval rating and voter concerns over issues such as inflation and the economy, the GOP had been forecast to potentially win over 240 seats.
According to ABC News projections, the Republicans will win six House seats so far, which will be enough to scarcely turn the House over if they don’t lose elsewhere, although there are still competitive GOP seats to be counted in California. The running record has turned the notion on its head that Republicans would win about two dozen seats.
In the Senate, where Republicans only have to flip one Democratic seat, Lt. gov. Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman will instead flip the Senate seat held by outgoing Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, paving the way for Democrats to retain the chamber they currently hold only with the landmark vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
However, Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada have yet to be called.
Inflation and abortion are key issues, not crime
Exit polls indicated that inflation and abortion were the top issues on voters’ minds, while crime did not register as high, undercutting pre-election polls.
About 32% of voters nationwide said inflation was the biggest problem, while 27% said abortion was. Meanwhile, crime in several states has lagged significantly behind these two issues.
Republicans had launched a publicity attack in the final weeks of the midterms, labeling Democrats weak on crime and public safety, a relentless campaign that strategists on both sides found effective.
house majority in the air
The final majority of the House of Representatives is in question early Wednesday.
The Republicans had boasted that they had at least a 20-seat majority, overtaking the Democrats’ current five-seat majority.
Still, the GOP only won a half-dozen seats, according to ABC News projections. And while several competitive races — for each party — have yet to be declared, Republicans had expected the chamber to close early.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said early Wednesday he was still confident Democrats would lose. “If you believe in freedom, hard work and the American Dream, these results proved there is a place for you in the Republican Party,” he said.
Trump allies fall short
Several midterm candidates aligned with Donald Trump are likely to come up short, hurting Republicans’ chances of winning the House and Senate and tarnishing the former president’s reputation as a kingmaker.
Some of the more prominent candidates expected to lose include Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania Senate nominee Mehmet Oz and New Hampshire Senate nominee Don Bolduc.
Other candidates who are forecast by ABC News to be unable to win major races include Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox, Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl and New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.
fate of voters who refuse to vote
While some races involving election deniers are yet to be forecast, several other Republicans who have expressed doubts about the 2020 election results will not win, ABC News forecasts, which will have implications for future presidential elections.
Mastriano, who would have appointed Pennsylvania Secretary of State if he had won, found himself outside the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and previously claimed – without evidence – that “millions of people across the state have been swindled.” Mastriano is expected to lose to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
In Michigan, GOP Secretary of State Kristina Karamo is expected to lose to Democrat Jocelyn Benson. Karamo had claimed Trump won the state in 2020 and unsuccessfully sued to invalidate Detroit’s mail-in ballot.
There are other secretary races yet to be appointed, but Republicans are likely to fail in swing states where they could have gained the power to certify election results while openly questioning how elections are conducted.
Florida continues to drift toward Republican
Republicans had a disappointing night overall compared to pre-Election Day ratings, but they raged in Florida, suggesting the once and vote-rich swing state is drifting farther away from Democrats.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising GOP star, drove to re-election by about 19 points with almost all of the expected votes reported. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also defeated opponent Val Demings by about 17 points — a stunning margin in a state where races were often decided on the razor’s edge of a point or two.
The GOP also flipped three seats in the Florida House of Representatives, gains that could ultimately play a major role in deciding which party controls the chamber.
The races went
Major races have yet to be called which will affect the control of both chambers.
Senate races in Arizona and Nevada have yet to be scheduled. And while the Georgia Senate race could end in a runoff if neither candidate reaches 50%, that outcome is yet to be determined.
Dozens of house races are also yet to be called, including up and down the West Coast, with enough remaining to decide the majority of the lower chamber.