Columbia Faculty Weigh In On the Midterm Elections

This year’s consequential midterm elections are around the corner. Find out what Columbia faculty members have had to say about what is motivating voters and what is at stake this year.

Caroline Harting
October 28, 2022

Early voting for the elections is already in full swing in many states, with turnout expected to be much higher than an average midterm election. Why are voters motivated to come out in large numbers this year? What issues will impact the outcomes? Will House and the Senate change parties? Columbia faculty members weigh in this year’s unpredictable, highly-anticipated midterm elections. 

This article will be updated as more news clips become available.

The 2020 Election Revisited

Richard Briffault, Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School, spoke about the Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022 and how it will reform and modernize the outdated 1887 Electoral Count Act in order to safeguard future presidential elections. (Bloomberg Law Podcast, October 1, 2022)

Zeldin Versus Hochul In the New York Governor’s Race

Steven Cohen, senior vice dean of Columbia’s School of Professional Studies and a professor in the practice of public affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), noted that Lee Zeldin is running a good race and that Kathy Hochul needs to connect him more to Donald Trump in order to maintain her lead. (New York Daily News, October 23)

Republican Support Examined

Robert Y. Shapiro, Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government in the department of political science, observed that Biden's focus on how the economy is strong because of low unemployment might not be an effective argument. Inflation is high and voters are concerned about the economy, which might hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections. (Newsweek, October 27, 2022)

In an opinion piece by Thomas B. Edsall about whether extreme partisanship will help the Democrats, Shapiro noted, “I sense the enthusiasm and anger here is at least a bit greater among Republicans than Democrats for House voting.” (The New York Times, October 26, 2022)

Recently, polls have shown that Gen Xers lean Republican more than other age groups. Rather than assuming that everyone becomes more right-wing as they age, Andrew Gelman, a professor of statistics and political science, found in his past research that on average, people's voting patterns continue to be influenced by their political beliefs when they reached adulthood (Slate, October 25, 2022)

Gregory Wawro, professor of political science, said that he anticipates abortion will remain an important issue in the elections this year, despite other issues rising to prominence. (Newsweek, October 22, 2022)

Climate Change, Energy Solutions, and the Midterm Elections

Some Republicans have called President Biden’s recent announcement that the United States will need to sell some of the oil from its reserves a stunt, but it is another tool to lower oil prices. In fact, Abhi Rajendran, an adjunct research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, said Biden will have to direct more sales from the reserve to push prices down. (Roll Call, October 24, 2022)

A recent Gallup poll showed that 44% of American are very concerned about climate change. Ama Francis, a non-resident fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, noted that there are common sense actions the U.S. can take to address the issue of climate change, particularly related to the displacement of people globally. (CNN, October 20, 2022)