Danny Ebanks
Persuadable voters decided the 2022 midterm

Authors: Claudia Kann. Danny Ebanks. Jacob Morrier. R. Michael Alvarez


Leading to the 2022 midterm elections, fundamentals-based forecasts and conventional wisdom among pundits pointed to a strong Republican wave. The incumbent president had a low approval rate, and the national economy was struggling. However, the Republican Party did not perform as well as models and conventional wisdom had suggested. This has led some to suggest the 2022 midterm elections are an ``asterisk election,” with idiosyncratic, unpredictable results. Still, previous research shows that factors beyond the fundamentals can help predict election results. For instance, unexpected variations in some issues’ public salience may lead voters to consider factors they normally disregard. Using a nationally representative sample of registered voters interviewed immediately after the November 2022 midterm elections, we show that abortion was a decisive and highly salient issue in this election. Comparing these results to analogous ones from a November 2020 survey shows this was not a foregone state of affairs. This leads us to believe that abortion’s increased salience is attributable to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022. The 2022 midterm elections seem to have been swayed by this exogenous shock to the political system.

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Danny Ebanks

Hi, my name is Danny! I am a Postdoctoral Fellow for IQSS at Harvard after having recently earned my PhD at Caltech in Quantitative Social Sciences! With a research passion for political methodology and American politics, I strive to develop and implement statistical methods, to understand the latest in machine learning and AI, and innovate in these areas in ways small and large to better understand our political world. I am always eager to chat about research and statistics, so feel free to reach out. Outside of research, I'm lifelong runner who hails from New York.