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Did Republicans do as well in Midterm races as they had predicted?

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Just to review where we're at here, neither the House nor the Senate is decided today. This is a midterm election where the party out of power customarily gains seats. It would appear that Republicans are still in position to do that. They still have a good chance to capture the House. They still have at least an even chance or near an even chance of capturing the Senate. Enough races are undecided that we do not know. But Republicans did not have the big night that was widely expected of them. Let's discuss this with Domenico Montanaro and Don Gonyea, two of our most senior political correspondents and editors. Gentlemen, good morning to you both.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Good morning.

INSKEEP: We were just hearing about abortion. Domenico, is it clear to you that that turned out to be a big factor in this voting?

MONTANARO: We were talking about Kentucky there. And, you know, I do think that this has been a key issue. Obviously, it's been a huge motivator. We've seen the Democratic ads on this in the last few weeks spiked, went through the roof. And that's been a big obvious motivator for them. And I think in the data, what you can see is that in a place like Pennsylvania, abortion rights kind of spiked, was the top issue for some voters, according to the exit polls that are conducted for some of the other news outlets. And when it comes to these ballot initiatives, all four that were on the ballot went the direction of or are leaning in the direction of the pro-abortion rights side, aside from the one in Kentucky that hasn't been decided yet, but, again, leaning toward the Democrats.

INSKEEP: Don Gonyea, as someone who's spoken with thousands and thousands and thousands of voters over the years, what stands out to you in the results we know so far?

GONYEA: You know, I'm still focused on Pennsylvania and how John Fetterman was able to eke out that narrow win. And it's interesting. Dr. Oz was a Donald Trump-endorsed candidate who never fully energize the base. In town after town, I would talk to voters, and they would say, I don't know if he's conservative enough. I'm not sure why Trump endorsed him. You don't know if that is going to translate into a lack of votes. But it appears he didn't win as big as he needed to win in the places he needed to win.

INSKEEP: And it's amazing. You think - people think about Pennsylvania's two big Democratic cities with a Republican rural area, but it seems that Fetterman improved Democrats' performance in the rural areas as well.

GONYEA: That's right. And he campaigned like crazy across those small towns in rural Pennsylvania.

INSKEEP: We'll continue hearing through this hour from Don Gonyea and Domenico Montanaro as we continue to bring you results from the 2022 midterms. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.
Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.