Wednesday, April 07, 2021


This seems like good news:
In Gallup polling throughout the first quarter of 2021, an average of 49% of U.S. adults identified with the Democratic Party or said they are independents who lean toward the Democratic Party. That compares with 40% who identified as Republicans or Republican leaners. The nine-percentage-point Democratic advantage is the largest Gallup has measured since the fourth quarter of 2012.
This gap is larger than normal, but not by much:
In recent years, Democratic advantages have typically been between four and six percentage points.
You can see that on the graph:

And you can see that previous gaps of this size haven't endured. Democrats had a 49%-40% advantage in 2012, for instance, but two years later Republicans scored a big win in the midterms, increasing their advantage in the House and taking the Senate. Democrats had an even greater affiliation advantage in 1992 and 1998, only to lose elections in 1994 and 2000. And while a persistent pro-Democratic gap in Bush's second term led to big Democratic wins in 2006 and 2008, Republicans came roaring back in 2010.

What's disheartening is that Republicans' current decline is normal. After January 6, the GOP should be in severe decline. The party should be far less popular than it's been in the past thirty years. But it's at a typical low. America doesn't believe that Republicans are beyond the pale.

And how do we square these numbers with the polling recently cited by CNN's Harry Enten?
One of the best ways to judge the political environment is through the generic congressional ballot. The generic ballot asks respondents some form of the following question: "If the elections for Congress were held today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican Party?"

Democrats are ahead on that measure by about 4 points in the average poll taken since the beginning of Biden's administration. That lead is about the same as the final margin in the 2020 presidential race (Biden +4.5 points) and the 2020 House popular vote (Democrats +3.1 points)....

Remember too that the 2020 polls tended to underestimate the Republican position. This means Republicans are actually doing better on the generic ballot now than they were heading into the 2020 election.
Enten thinks Republicans are in excellent position to retake Congress in 2022. The party that isn't in the White House usually has a very good year in a president's first midterms. That shouldn't be the case now -- the party of January 6 and Marjorie Taylor Greene and no votes on the COVID relief bill should be the exception to that rule. What the GOP is doing now should be political suicide. But that appears not to be the case.

I'd love to believe that Republicans are in deep trouble. Howerver, they easily survived Trump's attempted election theft and second impeachment. Democrats still won't say that the main impediment to change is the Republican Party, while Republicans and the right-wing media blame Democrats and liberals for every evil in the world. Republicans are in fine shape. They shouldn't be.

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