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Sen. Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks during an election-night party in Miami on Nov. 8.Saul Martinez / Getty Images file

Midterm Senate results show show shifts from 2020 

The 2022 Senate results largely mirrored the 2020 presidential race, but a deeper analysis shows where each party gained and lost.

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The presidential results from 2020 proved to be a key predictor of this year’s Senate race results, with Wisconsin as the only state where voters elected a senator from a different party than the presidential nominee they supported in 2020. 

Although the results largely mirrored one another, a closer analysis shows where each party was able to make gains in the 2022 midterms — or where each party lost ground — compared to two years ago. Here are some of the takeaways: 

It’s good to be a GOP incumbent

Senate Republican incumbents topped the list of GOP candidates who saw the greatest improvement compared to President Donald Trump’s vote share in 2020: 

  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott: + 8 points
  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune: + 8 points 
  • Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: + 7 points 

On the Democratic side, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz outran Biden by the widest margin, taking 71% of the vote in November compared to Biden’s 64% in 2020. 

Trump’s impact was mixed

The 2022 margins did not show a clear pattern as to whether candidates endorsed by Trump fared better or worse than his 2020 numbers. Trump backed Scott and Rubio, for example, but not Thune, who clashed with Trump over his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. 

On average, a Senate candidate endorsed by Trump received a vote share that was 0.6% higher than the former president’s in 2020. And candidates not endorsed by Trump improved on his 2020 numbers by an average of 0.8%. 

But some Trump-backed challengers in open seats, particularly in battleground races, tended to fare worse than the former president. Both Arizona’s Blake Masters and Pennsylvania’s Mehmet Oz’s vote shares were roughly 3 points lower than Trump’s in 2020. Utah Sen. Mike Lee also fared 5 points worse than Trump two years ago as he competed against independent Evan McMullin, a vocal Trump critic. 

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, who had Trump’s endorsement, saw the largest drop from Trump’s 2020 vote share, winning 56% of the vote in November compared to Trump’s 65% in 2020. 

Battleground Democrats improved

Four Democrats in battleground races improved on Biden’s 2020 vote share by roughly two percentage points — Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, Ohio’s Tim Ryan and Pennsylvania’s John Fetterman. All but Ryan won their races, helping Democrats keep control of the Senate.

While some Democrats improved on Biden’s 2020 showing, nine Democratic candidates ran behind Biden by four percentage points or more, many in deeply Republican states. 

Democratic Rep. Val Demings saw one of the widest gaps with Biden, picking up 41% of the vote in November — a 7-point drop from Biden’s 48% in 2020, underscoring Republicans’ gains in Florida, which was one of the party’s bright spots in the 2022 midterms.