Wednesday, February 14, 2018


There are a couple of new polls out today. One seems like good news for the GOP:
Republicans have erased the Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that, for the first time since April, also shows President Donald Trump’s approval rating equaling the percentage of voters who disapprove of his job performance.

Fully 39 percent of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23 percent, are undecided....

In the new poll, 47 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while the same percentage disapprove.
Politico concedes that this survey is friendlier to the GOP than other recent polls (as its polls tend to be). Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling releases a new survey that's not so good for Republicans, though it's somewhat better than earlier PPP surveys:
Democrats have a solid 49-41 lead on the generic Congressional ballot, although that’s down a shade from December when it was 51-40....

Trump has the highest approval rating we’ve found for him in a long time this month, with 44% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove.
But don't Democrats need an overwhelmingly unpopular Trump to have a shot at victory in the 2018 midterms? Republicans do have a built-in advantage, because Democrats are clustered in big states and big cities, and House districts are gerrymandered. But enthusiasm matters. PPP notes that Democrats are "also benefiting from an enthusiasm advantage- 65% of Clinton voters say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote in the election this fall, compared to 58% of Trump voters."

In the current Real Clear Politics average, Trump's job approval is still underwater by 11.7 points: 41.6% approve, 53.3% disapprove. (February polls from Quinnipiac, Reuters/Ipsos, Marist, and Gallup all show Trump with a disapproval gap in the double digits.)

By comparison, do you know what President Obama's gap was at this point 2010, nine months before his party lost 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats? On February 14, 2010, Obama's RCP numbers were positive -- 47.6% approval, 45.3% disapproval. And yet this was a month after Democrats lost a special Senate election in Massachusetts. Republicans have a built-in gerrymandering advantage nationwide, but that shouldn't have helped them in a Senate race in Massachusetts. But they had a big enthusiasm advantage. Most polls show that Democrats have one this year, and also that strong disapproval of Trump exceeds strong approval. (In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, 47% of respondents disapprove of Trump strongly, but only 30% approve of him strongly.)

Obama's numbers were only slightly underwater -- 45.6% approve, 49.4% disapprove -- on Election Day 2010, according to RCP. Trump, by contrast, has had a double-digit disapproval gap every day since last May. If that doesn't change, Democrats are still looking pretty good for 2018.


The signs are still bad for Republicans.

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