Democrats' advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Lester Mason
April 16, 2018

The survey released on Monday finds Democrats with a 19-point advantage statewide on the generic ballot, with 54 percent of respondents saying they plan to or are leaning toward voting for Democrats, compared to only 34 percent for Republicans.

But the current poll shows Democrats with a significant advantage in enthusiasm, with 66 percent of Democrats expressing a high level of interest (either a "9" or "10" on a 10-point scale) in November's elections, versus 49 percent for Republicans.

One potentially new factor in the mix of midterm issues is gun policy, which has emerged as a major voter consideration two months after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. "Not only are New Jersey Democrats doing better on the generic House ballot statewide, but the shift is coming nearly entirely from districts now held by the GOP", said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Post-ABC poll also showed a slight uptick in President Donald Trump's approval rating as well, with 40% approving and 56% disapproving of how he is handling his job. Which side is more likely to turn up at the voting booth?

The poll notes that in the five districts now represented by Republicans, 46 percent of voters back the Republican candidate while 44 percent back the Democratic one.

Still, it's numerically Trump's highest approval rating in a year, coming just as consumer confidence reached its best since February 2001 in the weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. In the races covered by the analysis, there are 127 Democrats and 65 Republicans. Among registered voters, 68 percent of both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning registered voters say they are certain they will vote. Democrats need to flip 23 seats this fall to secure a majority.


Bottom line: Democrats are angry and angry people vote. When over 470 occur at the same appointed time, outside influences tend to wane more than they wax.

A March 29 CNN poll found the generic congressional ballot had tightened to a six-point lead for Democrats. Only 28 percent back GOP ones.

The renewed gun-control debate is a wild card in the midterm election, with lawmakers facing pressure from students nationwide to pass new laws.

Although public activism has put pressure on Republicans and the National Rifle Association, the Post-ABC poll suggests that neither party holds an advantage in support among the 42 percent of voters who say it's "extremely important" that a congressional candidate share their views on the issue.

Reuters/Ipsos has the gap at D+10, and Economist/YouGov has it at D+8. But almost one-quarter have no opinion of the former house speaker, who could regain the gavel if Democrats flip the House.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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