The political world was greeted Tuesday morning with some new polling information that will send shockwaves throughout Washington, D.C.. In the generic congressional ballot Democratic House candidates now lead their Republican opponents nationally by 52-38 percent among registered voters in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
“JUST IN: Democratic House candidates lead their Republican opponents nationally by 14 points among registered voters in a new @ABC News/Washington Post poll—their widest advantage in midterm election vote preferences since 2006.”
JUST IN: Democratic House candidates lead their Republican opponents nationally by 14 points among registered voters in a new @ABC News/Washington Post poll—their widest advantage in midterm election vote preferences since 2006. https://t.co/kAVHLkkmYV
— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2018
And just as importantly the polling organization said that the Democrats’ lead holds up across a range of likely voter models, making the results that much more certain regardless of turnout numbers.
Everyone agrees that there is a connection between presidential approval ratings and midterm congressional elections, and this poll supports that conclusion. Although Donald Trump remains popular among Republicans he is extremely unpopular with everyone else, including the all-important independent voters who swing elections.
Opposition to Trump is a key factor in giving Democrats their widest advantage since 2006 in the generic ballot, showing midterm election vote preferences. In that year the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress.
Four years ago, when Republicans made gains in the midterm elections, the GOP held a ten point advantage in the generic ballot at this point in the election cycle.
The poll gives Democrats a massive lead in vote choice with 60 percent of registered voters saying they want the next Congress to be controlled by the Democrats. Their reasoning is that they want Congress to be a check on Trump instead of supporting Trump’s agenda. This is an increase of 8 points from a year ago in preference for Democratic control.
“60% of registered voters say they’d rather see the next Congress controlled by Democrats as a check on Pres. Trump, up eight points from one year ago, new @ABC News/WaPo poll finds.”
60% of registered voters say they’d rather see the next Congress controlled by Democrats as a check on Pres. Trump, up eight points from one year ago, new @ABC News/WaPo poll finds. https://t.co/xh9lmK0ViD pic.twitter.com/rSpXBP2Sx0
— ABC News (@ABC) September 4, 2018
The Democrats’ advantage demonstrates how truly unpopular Trump really is. The same polling organization reported Friday that just 36 percent of Americans approve of his job performance which is the lowest approval rating ever for a president heading into his first midterm elections. The poll also showed 60% of registered voters disapproving of the president, the highest number of his presidency.
The parties in control of the White House have always lost seats in off-years, and the only question is how much. Democrats lost 63 House seats in Obama’s first midterms and 52 in Clinton’s. And in 2006, when the Democrats last held pre-election leads as high theirs now, they gained 31 seats.
Concerning which congressional candidate to vote for in their own districts, 59 percent of registered voters said it’s highly important to them to support a candidate who shares their opinion of the president. With Trump’s unpopularity at record high in “swing” congressional districts this means the majority of people plan to vote for Democrats.
Political analysts have said that because of gerrymandering of congressional districts Democrats need at least a five or six point advantage in the generic congressional ballot in order to win back control of the House of Representatives. They need to pick up 23 House seats in order to be in the majority after November’s elections.
Respondents to the poll also believe that the stakes are very high in this November’s elections, which could boost voter turnout. Nearly two-thirds of registered voters say it is more important to vote now than in past midterms. Democratic-leaning voters are more likely than Republican-leaning voters to say that voting this fall is more important than in previous midterm years, by 75 percent to 57 percent.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.