Republicans won more than 6 million additional votes in elections to the House of Representatives, but have only flipped a few seats, which suggests that talk of a “red wave” may have been a prelude to the general national mood, but not the outcome of the elections.
As per the Cook Political Report, as of Thursday, Republicans collected 50,113,534 votes, which is 52.3 percent of the vote, as compared to 44,251,768, or 46.2 percent of the vote. Republicans are ahead by 6.1 percent more than their median in “generic congressional ballot” polls, which showed the party was ahead by 2.5 percent in the RealClearPolitics average prior to the election. However, Republicans have only been able to flip nine seats in the first nine days. This is likely enough to take control of the House, however still far from the “wave” result many anticipated.
The disparity between the total votes that were cast by Republicans and the final results reflects the polarization in congressional districts. It also highlights that Republican defeats against a number of Democratic incumbents were very close. But, it could indicate that Democrats were more effective in their campaigning, by concentrating their resources in areas that were required to protect their weak positions.
Comparatively, in 2010's Tea Party “wave” election, during which Republicans gained 63 seats, Republicans got 44,593,666 of the votes of 86,784,957 votes cast, or 51.3 percent. Democrats got 38,854,459 votes, which is 44.8 percent, indicating that the Republican victory margin was 6.5 percent, which was comparable to the margin so far in 2022. But, the Republicans did not gain the Senate by losing several important races.