Are you nonplussed about most US political polls? Three strikes, you’re out! For pollsters, should we ask: Does it matter to get it right?
2016: Political novice Donald Trump beat heavily favored Hillary Clinton, the first female nominated for POTUS by a major American political party
2020: Incumbent POTUS Trump defeated by septuagenarian Joe Biden, set to turn 80 during his first term in office while showing obvious mental attrition
2022: ‘Red Wave’ never happened, but the GOP narrowly captured a majority in the House to gain control of the legislative agenda for the next two years
Most national political polls missed predicting these events; indeed many credible forecasts projected opposite results. Are opinion polls no longer viable for national elections? If not, what would make the pollster game more reliable?
Would the results have been more in line with the polls, if a certain percentage of those who watched the polls had not believed them and then turned out to vote? In other words, did the one-side polls spark voting or encourage apathy?
Now documented two weeks following election day, the so-called ‘Red Wave’ failed to happen in the 2022 USA congressional elections. In the end, the US-elected political camps are evenly divided. The US stock market reacted positively based upon the premise an evenly divided government is not radical in any direction and is best for the country. Even Wall Street appears to want limited government.
Was voter apathy the main reason for these results, not the inaccurate polls? Maybe it was the fact that heavy Democratic districts delivered for their party like these six districts along the US/Mexico border.
Because of a well-documented trilogy of voter issues: (1) undocumented immigration; (2) high inflation and a sinking economy; (3) rising crime and homelessness, all predictions seemed to project widespread voter discontent with the Democratic Party in control of Washington. Major losses were expected for the Biden Administration, typical for mid-term elections for the party of the incumbent president. Post-election, a micro view of the results may be seen through an analysis of a group of 6 congressional races along the USA‘s southern border, the nearly 2 thousand mile span from the Pacific Ocean of California to the southern tip of Texas at the Gulf of Mexico. A majority of these races were won by Democrats in a 7 for 11 series that was probably always favoring Democrats because of their voter registration advantages.
Yes, only eleven US congressional districts are adjacent to the Southern Border from California to Texas (a nearly 2000-mile stretch).
GOP ‘BORDERLINE’ LOSSES
Case Study#1 [Texas House District 34] Vicente Gonzalez (D) vs. Mayra Flores ®
Redistricting brought these two incumbent congresspersons into competition for one of four new House seats in the state. Their district is heavily-registered Democratic and Gonzalez won by more than 11,000 votes out of more than 130,000 votes cast. Voter turnout was underwhelming, so Flores explained the loss was due to low voter participation. “The RED WAVE did not happen. Republicans and Independents stayed home,” Flores said on Twitter. “DO NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RESULTS IF YOU DID NOT DO YOUR PART!”
- Texas’s 34th congressional district is composed of the area on the Gulf Coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, the latter of which being situated in the neighbouring 27th congressional district, with a portion turning inland into the rural portions of the state. In addition to the City of Brownsville, other major towns in the district include Alice, Beeville, Harlingen, Kingsville and San Benito. District Population is 715,023.
Case Study#2 [Texas House District 28] Henry Cuellar (D) vs. Cassy Garcia ®
Winner Enrique (Henry) Roberto Cuellar is an American attorney and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Texas’s 28th congressional district since 2005. A member of the Democratic Party, he is considered one of the most conservative representatives in the Democratic caucus and has had GOP overtures to switch parties. His prior races since 2005 have not been close. Voter results as of 11/20/22 show Cuellar’s victory was a runaway: 80,716 to 58,869 for his opponent, a margin of 21,847 votes. Voter turnout was not an issue.
- Texas’s 28th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives covers a strip in deep south Texas starting in the eastern outskirts of San Antonio, and ending at the U.S.–Mexico border. Towns entirely or partially within this district include Converse, Laredo, Rio Grande City, and Universal City. District Population is 781,276.
Case Study#3 [Texas House District 16] Veronica Escobar (D) vs. Armendariz Jackson ®
94,266 votes total (39,569 ahead) to 54,697 for Jackson. Once more a decisive victory in a district where Democrats far outnumber Republicans and independents were not motivated to vote. Veronica Escobar is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district, based in El Paso, since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she served as an El Paso County commissioner from 2007 to 2011 and the El Paso county judge from 2011 until 2017.
- The Texas 16th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives includes almost all of El Paso and most of its suburbs in the state of Texas. The current Representative is Democrat Veronica Escobar. The district was initially created in 1903.
Case Study#4 [New Mexico House District 2] Gabriel Vasquez (D) 96,979
(1,348 ahead) vs. Yvette Herrell ® 95,631
Gabriel Vasquez is an American politician who is the U.S. representative-elect for New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district. He previously served as a member of the Las Cruces City Council.
- New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district serves the southern half of New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Roswell, and the southern fourth of Albuquerque. Geographically, it is the fifth largest district in the nation, and the largest district that does not contain an entire state. It is currently represented by Republican Yvette Herrell who lost narrowly to her Democratic challenger.
Case Study#5 [Arizona House District 7] Raul Grijalva (D) 77,882 vs. Luis Pozzolo ® 43,927
Raúl Manuel Grijalva is an American politician and activist had previously served as the United States representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district since 2003.
- Arizona’s 7th congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of Arizona. It includes much of inner Phoenix, as well as the eastern portion of Glendale. It is currently represented by Democrat Ruben Gallego who, in 2022, ran successfully in Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of AZ7 is D+24, it is the most Democratic district in Arizona.
Case Study#6 [California House District 50] Scott Peters (D) 87,048 vs. Corey Gustafson ® 57,972
Scott Harvey Peters is an American lawyer and politician previously serving as the U.S. representative from California’s 52nd congressional district since 2013. His district representation changed to CA #50 in 2022.
- California’s 50th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California and encompasses the central and northeastern parts of San Diego County and a small part of Riverside County. Darrell Issa is currently the U.S. representative for California’s 50th congressional district, but re-districting moved him to the 48th district which he won.
Case Study#7 [California House District 52] Juan Vargas (D) 52,645 vs. Tyler Geffeney ® 29,112
Juan Carlos Vargas is an American businessman and politician who has been the U.S. representative for California’s 51st congressional district since 2013, but in 2022 Vargas was elected in the 52nd District due to re-districting when California lost one House seat.
- The district is currently in San Diego County. It includes coastal and central portions of the city of San Diego, including neighborhoods such as Carmel Valley, La Jolla, Point Loma and Downtown San Diego; the San Diego suburbs of Poway and Coronado; and the campuses of schools such as the University of California, San Diego (partial), Point Loma Nazarene University, the University of San Diego, and various colleges of the San Diego Community College District. Much of this territory was in the 50th district from 2003 to 2013.
GOP ‘BORDERLINE’ WINS
Of course, all was not lost for the GOP election outcomes along the American border in 2022. Four key races were won:
Case Study#8 [Texas House District 15] Monica De La Cruz ® 80,869 vs. Michelle Vallejo 67,913 (D) and Ross Lynn Leone (L) 2,808
Mónica De La Cruz is an American politician from the state of Texas. A Republican, she is the member-elect to the U.S. House of Representatives from The Texas 15th congressional district. In the 2020 elections, De La Cruz ran in Texas’s 15th congressional district, and lost to incumbent Vicente Gonzalez by only 3 percent. Endorsed by Donald Trump and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, she ran again in the 15th district in the 2022 elections, while Gonzalez was redistricted to Texas’s 34th congressional district. De La Cruz faced Michelle Vallejo in the general election. De La Cruz defeated Vallejo.
- The Texas 15th congressional district of the United States House of Representatives includes a thin section of the far south of the state of Texas. The district’s current Representative is Democrat Vicente Gonzalez, who was first elected in 2016, but due to re-districting, Gonzalez ran and won in 2022 in Texas House District 34.
Case Study#9 [Texas House District 23] Tony Gonzales ® 116,172 vs. John Lira (D) 80,430
Ernest Anthony Gonzales II is an American politician and United States Navy veteran who has served as the U.S. representative for Texas’s 23rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2021. He is a member of the Republican Party.
- The Texas 23rd congressional district stretches across the southwestern portion of Texas. It is a majority Hispanic district and has been represented by Republican Tony Gonzales since 2021.
Case Study#10 [Arizona House District 6] Juan Ciscomani ® 177,201 vs. Kirsten Engel (D) 171,969
Juan Ciscomani is an American politician from Arizona. He was a senior adviser to Governor Doug Ducey, vice chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, and the member-elect to the United States House of Representatives from Arizona’s 6th congressional district.
- Arizona’s 6th congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of Arizona and encompasses parts of Maricopa County. It consists mostly of the northeastern suburbs of Phoenix, including Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, and Fountain Hills. The district is currently represented by Republican David Schweikert.
Case Study#11 [California House District 48] Darrell Issa ® 73,421 vs. Stephen Houlahan (D) 48,810
Darrell Edward Issa is an American businessman and politician who has served as the U.S. representative for California’s 50th congressional district since 2021. His campaign in District 48 was due to re-districting. The California Citizens Redistricting Commission voted 14-0 in favor of a new congressional district map on December 20, 2021, and delivered those maps to the secretary of state on December 27, 2021. California was apportioned 52 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives after the 2020 census, a net loss of one seat compared to apportionment after the 2010 census. This took effect for California’s 2022 congressional elections.
- California’s 48th congressional district is a congressional district in the U.S. state of California based in Orange County in Southern California. It is currently represented by Republican Michelle Steel.