President Biden offered a more measured forecast for Democrats on the eve of Tuesday’s election after predicting last week that the party would defy polls with big midterm wins.
Speaking in a virtual address to the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Biden said Democrats “have a shot at keeping the Senate” and that he’s “optimistic” about the House, though he acknowledges that may be a stretch.
“Imagine what we can do in a second term. If we maintain control,” he said. “I know that sounds like a very high expectation, but I think — anyway, I’m optimistic.”
“We’ve got one more night to do everything we can to win, another probably 30 hours between the last poll close,” he said. “So let’s go win this thing big.”
The remarks contrast with his confidence just days before when he declared his party will keep the House and expand its majority in the Senate.
“We’re going to win this time. I feel really good about our chances,” he told reporters Friday before boarding Air Force One to head to Chicago for a campaign rally. “I think we are going to keep the Senate, pick up a seat. I think we have a chance of winning the House. I don’t think we’re going to not win. We are keeping the House. So I’m optimistic. I really am.”
When asked why he was so certain about a Democratic victory, Mr. Biden said his party’s candidates were getting good crowds at campaign events. He also accused the media of downplaying Democratic voter enthusiasm.
“We have pretty good crowds. Fairly enthusiastic. You don’t write it that way, but they are,” Mr. Biden said.
Democrats are clinging to a razor-thin majority in the House and Senate. The polls have recently favored Republicans as concerns over the economy have eclipsed abortion. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday found voters favor Republican control of Congress by a margin of 4 percentage points.
A recent CNN poll found that Republicans top Democrats on a generic ballot asking voters which party’s candidate they would support in their own House District. Republicans were favored 51% to 47%.
The same poll found that 38% of Republicans are extremely enthusiastic about voting this year, down from 43% in 2018. However, only 24% of Democrats said they are extremely enthusiastic about voting, down from 44% in 2018 when President Trump was in the White House.