Sunday, October 14, 2018


We've been assured that talk of liberal "mobs" will be the secret weapon to goose Republican enthusiasm in the midterms, but a new Washington Post/ABC poll suggests that Democrats still have the advantage:
Three weeks before critical midterm elections, voters are expressing significantly more interest in turning out than they were four years ago, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. Enthusiasm is up across almost all demographic groups, but the increases are greater among younger adults, nonwhite voters and those who say they favor Democrats for the House.

... Registered voters say they prefer the Democratic candidate for the House over the Republican candidate by 11 percentage points—53 percent to 42 percent. That is slightly lower than in August, when the Democratic advantage was 14 points. Among likely voters in the new survey, the margin is 13 points. Historically, that kind of gap foreshadows gains, possibly substantial, for the Democrats.
It's not the only recent poll with Democrats in good shape. Harris Interactive has Democrats up by 9 in a poll conducted last week (up from a 6-point margin in Harris's previous poll). YouGov has Democrats up by 6 (the margin was 5 in YouGov's previous poll). Ipsos has overlapping polls showing Democrats up by 12 and 13 (up from +12 in a poll conducted September 25 to October 1).

Could these polls be inaccurate? It's possible. But if Democrats hang on to win, here's a theory of what could be happening:

Sure, the Brett Kavanaugh hearings infuriated Republicans. The anger showed up in some polls, as Nate Cohn of The New York Times noted a few days ago.

However, the Kavanaugh story has receded. Republicans and their media allies have tried to replace it with a "Democratic mobs" narrative. But what if that isn't working because, while it sounds inflammatory to us, it's not very different from what the right-wing media says about Democrats 365 days a year, in non-election years as well as election years?

The new message might produce a GOP voter surge. But Fox News tells Republicans that Democrats are evil, murderous thugs every day of every year. So maybe the "mob" message just seems like old news.

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