100 Days

Sunday, July 31, 2022


TO:        Interested Parties

FROM:    The Lincoln Project

RE:        100 Days

One hundred days from today, Americans will go to the polls to determine the direction of our country. Despite historic polarization, stubborn inflation and broad concern about America’s future, pro-democracy candidates are leading many key races around the country. Below we lay our view of the fall campaign and why this fight is far from over.



Race Poll Type Date Released Findings
Senate Emerson College 7/10/22 Cortez Masto +3
Governor Emerson College 7/10/22 Sisolak +3


Race Poll Type Date Released Findings
Senate Change Research 6/24/22 Kelly +6 (Lamon)

Kelly +9 (Masters)

Governor Public Opinion Strat 7/25/22 Lake/Taylor Robson tied


Race Poll Type Date Released Findings
Senate Marquette Law  6/22/22 Mandela + 2
Governor Marquette Law 6/22/22 Kleefisch -3


Race Poll Type Date Released Findings
Governor Glengariff Group 7/10/22 Whitmer +8 (Kelly)

Whitmer +10 (Dixon)

Secretary of State Glengariff Group 7/10/22 Benson +7.7 (Karamo)
Attorney General Glengariff Group 7/10/22 Nessel +6.7 (DePerno)


Race Poll Type Date Released Findings
Senate Blueprint 7/26/22 Fetterman +9
Governor Blueprint 7/26/22 Shapiro +11

An average of 30 generic Congressional polls taken since Roe ended on June 24th found Democrats leading 44.8% to 42.3%, +2.5 points.  That’s a 4-5 point shift from where the election was in mid-June.

This is not some left-leaning outlier. Notably, 4 influential Republican polls released over the past week show significant Dem leads in generic ballots:

Americans for Prosperity 42-39 (+3)

Echelon Insights              48-44 (+4)

Chamber of Commerce   46-41 (+5)

Winning The Issues         47-41 (+6)


Unlike most Washington-based committees and organizations, we see the 2022 election in terms of the races that are most likely to affect American democracy. Why? Because many of the candidates running for these offices are Ultra MAGA, Big Lie believers, were at the Capitol on January 6th, have said they will ensure Donald Trump’s victory in 2024, have pledged to deny more Americans their individual rights, or some noxious combination thereof. We must not allow them to achieve their objectives. To that end, we do not see the fight as a contest between state and federal races, though both are important. Instead, we are focused on the following states and races:

Arizona – Governor, US Senate, Secretary of State

Nevada – Governor, US Senate, Attorney General, Secretary of State

Wisconsin – Governor, US Senate

Michigan – Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State

Pennsylvania – Governor, US Senate

If we can ensure that Democratic, pro-democracy candidates are elected in these races, the downstream effect should be holding and/or taking some US House races that weren’t seen as competitive.

The Good News

As Joe Trippi noted in his memo of earlier this year, Democrats have a chance to beat expectations this fall based on a variety of factors including redistricting not being as strong an advantage for Republicans as first expected and further that Republicans were nominating ultra extreme MAGA candidates that would be out of step even in these redrawn districts. Joe’s predictions from January are not only still relevant – with each day, they continue to grow more likely. Redistricting did not hand the GOP a massive advantage. The GOP continues to nominate ultra-MAGA extremists who are far out of step with the general electorate in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Nevada. We are turning a corner on inflation and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine brought together new coalitions both internationally and domestically to counter Russian aggression. Democrats continue to coalesce around two potential victories: reducing inflation and the CHIPS bill (which 187 House Republicans voted against, giving Dems a key messaging win going into the fall). And of course, the Democratic base is larger (and for the first time, more motivated to vote, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as recent polls show 92% of Democrats are extremely motivated, as compared to 89% of the GOP).

Over the course of the first half of 2022, we’ve seen erosion in the GOP coalition with older and upper income, educated suburban voters. We believe the following factors are contributing to this:

Deeply Unpopular Positions

National Republican leaders have put forth deeply unpopular positions including a national abortion ban, restricting gay marriage, increasing taxes on working class Americans, rolling back Social Security and Medicare, and voting against key veterans’ benefits.

January 6th

The hearings held by the Select Committee on January 6th have been devastating for Donald Trump’s reputation with swing voters and Republicans alike. As noted above, older Republican voters appear especially upset by Trump’s willingness to lie and incite violence to stay in office. Additionally, several Republican candidates, such as Doug Mastriano, participated in 1/6. We believe the Committee’s September hearings will continue to depress soft Republican voters as we approach Election Day.

The Dobbs Decision

Though the decision was leaked two months before its release, the Dobbs decision is a cultural grenade thrown into American life. Half the country now has less rights than they did half a century ago. Younger voters and women in the suburbs are energized by this loss. Many Republican-led states have already outlawed abortion completely. Others are now pursuing restricting access to contraception. In his concurrent opinion, Clarence Thomas noted that he believes gay marriage should be overturned as well. While ultra-conservative Americans may believe they’ve scored a great victory, the energy these actions have injected into voters, both men and women, concerned about individual rights should drive Democratic and pro-democracy voters to the polls.


When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, many MAGA leaders openly rooted for Vladimir Putin’s success. Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, JD Vance, and many Congressional Republicans continue to push pro-Putin talking points. This, too, is a strike point for older Republican voters, all of whom lived through the Cold War and many of whom served in the military during that era. They historically see Russia as an adversary and do not like seeing another democracy attacked. We must continue to drive this wedge in Federal races.

Indecency and Ugliness

It’s not enough that the GOP has become a party ruled by anti-democratic leaders and forces. They relish driving anger and fear into Americans. Many of their candidates are clowns and carnival barkers; being transgressive for the sake of keeping their MAGA base happy. Most Americans, and many Republicans do not like the ‘own the libs’ mindset that has become the basis for most GOP messaging and behavior. It is essential to continually call out the worst of their actions and words as un-American, un-democratic, and unfit for elective office.

Red Flags

The Culture Wars

Republicans start culture wars, and Democrats follow them in. There is plenty to be upset about. GOP leaders and conservative jurists are attempting to turn back the clock before anyone can stop them. But that does not mean fighting on their terms. Why do MAGA candidates focus on these issues? One, because they know their base is full of true believers and two, because they have nothing else of substance to talk about. Turn these issues back on Republican candidates. When a GOP candidate says they want to outlaw abortion, including in cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother, ask them if they have a daughter. Would they make their own child go through that hell? Would they watch their wife die of an ectopic pregnancy? The answer is no: They’re hypocrites.

Normalcy Bias

But we must not allow a deep desire for normalcy and lack of imagination to cloud our thoughts. Just because it appears on paper that the likes of Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania or Kari Lake in Arizona can win a General Election, does it make it true. Anytime that thought crosses our mind we’re reverting to 2015 thinking. The impossible is now very possible, and without every bit of work to prevent it, those possibilities become likelihoods.

Lack of Enthusiasm in Key Constituencies

The strength of the Democratic and pro-democracy coalition is its diversity. However, that diversity comes with an array of opinions on key issues. Asking every voter to pass a purity test to be a Democrat will encourage some to stay home, or worse vote for the opponent. Taking long-standing allies for granted by not addressing their concerns seriously, and in a manner that communicates an understanding of a community, is a recipe for electoral disaster. Not one available pro-democracy voter can stay home this fall. Pick up the phone, call your friends and allies and make sure they know you’re there to help, not just expecting their vote.

Inability to Formulate and Retain a Coherent Message

KISS. Keep it simple, stupid. Pro-democracy candidates should not roll-out pages of policy prescriptions. Incumbents should rely on the good work they’ve done on behalf of their constituents, provide a positive vision for the future and draw stark and hard-hitting contrasts with their opponents. Clear, simple, emotive messaging will be far more effective than poll-driven pablum that makes voters scroll through their phones.

State Recaps


Much attention has rightly been on Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat in which Republican Pat Toomey is retiring. It is arguably the best opportunity for the Democrats to gain a seat. However, the battle for governor is one of the three most important race in the

country on Lincoln Project’s Democracy Threat Index. The PA governor plays a pivotal role in the certification of presidential electors and, more importantly, he will appoint the next Secretary of State who will oversee that 2024 election.

Democrat Attorney General Josh Shapiro is his party’s nominee for the governor’s mansion. The Republicans selected State Senator Doug Mastriano following a bruising primary. Mastriano has been at the forefront of the Big Lie and was a participant in the January 6 melee in Washington. The stakes in the top-of-the-ticket race are enormous and will drive turnout for all other races.

Right behind this battle for the big house in Harrisburg will be the Senate contest between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, who won a narrow primary victory with the backing of Donald Trump.

Additionally, there are three Democratic-held battleground congressional races (one open seat and two incumbents running for re-election) and one more GOP-held seat that could become contentious as incumbent Scott Perry’s central role in the January 6 insurrection becomes more widely known.

The only public polling since the May primary shows Shapiro slightly ahead (+4%) of Mastriano and Fetterman (+9%) topping Oz.


Wisconsin’s electoral ecosystem in 2022 revolves around two pivotal statewide elections. The Governor’s race is one of three existential threats to democracy. Two events will likely happen if Tony Evers loses his reelection bid to the eventual Republican candidate. First, there will be an attempt in the Republican-held state legislature to overturn the 2020 results by recalling Wisconsin’s electors. Unlike today there would be no assurance the Governor would block these efforts as Evers has to date. Second, after the 2024 election, there would be no assurances that a Republican Governor would honor the outcome if the Republican candidate for President lost in the state.

Simultaneously, the state’s other marquee election, where Senator Ron Johnson is seeking a third term, is a significant opportunity to protect the guardrails of democracy through his defeat. The most recent polling shows Evers slightly ahead (+3%) of his potential Republican opponents and Johnson slightly trailing his potential democrat challenges (-2%). However, Evers and Johnson are below 50% in the polling, with around 6-8% of Wisconsin voters remaining undecided.


Michigan is unique among the existential states in 2022 in that it does not have a U.S. Senate election. Donald Trump has devoted inordinate attention to picking and choosing candidates down to the state

legislative level in Michigan, as well as in intra-party offices. He seems to have convinced himself that Michigan’s 16 electoral votes were pirated from him even with Biden winning by a margin of 154,000+ votes.

The marquee race is Governor Whitmer’s re-election bid. Additionally, Democrats Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson both face epic races against die-hard Trump-backed candidates, and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin will be seeking her third term in a heated battle against a MAGA State Senator. There are three additional battleground congressional races, including Democratic incumbent Dan Kildee’s Flint-based seat, a Grand Rapids-based seat in which freshman GOPer Pete Meijer is on the ropes ahead of the August 2nd primary due to his vote for Trump’s second impeachment, and an open seat straddling Macomb and Oakland counties just north of Detroit. Also, the newly redistricting legislative maps put GOP control of the House and Senate in Lansing in real jeopardy for the first time in decades.

The most recent polling shows Whitmer slightly ahead (+2%) of her potential Republican opponents, however her job approval remains north of 50%.


Our scoring indicates that the Arizona gubernatorial race is among the top priorities this year. Biden narrowly won Arizona in 2022 and the state has seen enormous GOP legal efforts to probe or overturn the presidential election. Kari Lake, the likely GOP nominee, has been endorsed by Donald Trump and her primary opponent, Karrin Taylor Robson, is backed by both the sitting governor and Mike Pence. The GOP primary may provide insights into the impact of the January 6th Committee and whether or not the political winds are turning against Donald Trump. Polling indicates that Lake holds a slight lead over Hobbs in a general election.


The Nevada Secretary of State follows a similar trend to the other SOS races included here. Defending the office from election deniers is critical to protecting democracy in 2024 and beyond. Jim Marchant, the GOP candidate in this race has denied the outcome of the 2020 election. Marchant participated as a fake elector in the MAGA scheme to overturn the election.  Marchant would be dangerous for the future of democracy in the state and across the country. There is limited polling data on this race.


Once again, we face an existential election. What happens 100 days from now may influence far beyond the next two years. But we cannot take anything for granted. There is no longer any such thing as a sure base voter. Flexibility and dynamism are key to candidates and campaigns today. The news changes more quickly now than ever. When opportunities present themselves, and MAGA always provides them, it is critical to take speedy and full advantage of them.

The landscape has changed dramatically since January. But what has not changed is that the pro-democracy movement we are building. With 100 days to go, we are doubling down on doing the work to win this November and beyond. Are you with us?



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There is no time for complacency.

There is no time for living room activism. Every day must be spent asking ourselves if we’re doing our part, if we’re doing enough to ensure that the grand idea called America continues.

Thank you for joining us in this fight.