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Will Democrats ride a blue wave in November, or … just get the blues? Assumptions have run high that Nancy Pelosi & Co will have both history and an unpopular president on their side, generating enough momentum to swamp out Republicans and reclaim control of the House. Paul Ryan’s retirement, and more than two dozen others in the House Republican caucus, seems to indicate an acknowledgment of a coming Democratic tsunami.
Don’t tell American voters that, however. A new poll from ABC and the Washington Post puts the two parties close to a virtual dead head in the generic congressional ballot:
Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victories in November.
Poll - Gap - Support - Republican - House
The poll finds that the gap between support for Democratic vs. Republican House candidates dropped by more than half since the beginning of the year. At the same time, there has been a slight increase in President Trump’s approval rating, although it remains low. Measures of partisan enthusiasm paint a more mixed picture of the electorate in comparison to signs of Democratic intensity displayed in many recent special elections.
The predictive nature of special elections is still a hot matter for debate. In 2017, most special elections were won by Republicans, so it didn’t make much difference in national calculations, but Democrats won a couple of long shots in 2018, making the question more acute. The problem with special elections as bellwethers is that turnout is lower and more influenced by large sums of money and media attention. That influence is easy to apply when only one election is going on at a time. When over 470 occur at the...
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