Is the Democrat blue wave actually coming in the November midterm elections?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
The midterm elections in November, it would seem, is the Democrats' to lose. Since Donald Trump took office, a blue wave has been predicted to sweep sweats in the Senate and the House of Representatives from Republicans. The congressional election offers the party to reclaim control of the Hill.
Everything seems to be going their way on their march for House control, CNN argues. Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, are retiring left, right and centre, and Democrats continue to overperform in special elections. But they cannot afford complacency, because their position on the generic congressional ballot seems to have worsened since the beginning of the year.
They look at four "gold standard" pollsters (i.e. live interview survey conducted over the phone and are transparent about their data) that show an average lead for the Democrats slipping to just five percentage points - that's down from 14 points in December.
Their lead in the gold standard polling over the last two months is amongst the worst it has been. In April, they were up by five points; in March, they were ahead by seven points. "Before that, there hadn't been two consecutive months when Democrats held a generic congressional lead in gold standard polling of seven points or less since March and April 2017," CNN notes.
The seven-point mark is important, they add, because it is around the break-even point for House control. Democrats need to win the national House vote by a substantial margin to win a majority. If they fall below the seven-point line, the Republicans may cling on to control.
However, even when they lose, Slate notes, the good news keeps coming for Democrats. Whilst Democrat Hiral Tipirneni failed to win Arizona's special election for their eighth district, she reduced the Republicans' lead to just five percentage points. This was the very same district that Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016.
"It was the ninth special election for federal office during Trump's presidency, and the Democratic candidate in all nine has outperformed the partisan lean of their district, by an average in the double digits," Slate reports.
Furthermore, the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan outfit, shows that there are 147 Republican-held House seats that have a lower lead than Arizona's 8th. All that Democrats need to do to take control is win two dozen of these seats with their tiny lead. There are 54 "lean" seats that Democrats have a realistic chance to compete against - with a further 30 GOP seats that are "toss up or worse".
It is worth noting that there are only one-third of Senate seats up for grabs - with the Democrats currently holding the majority of them (23 out of 33). Independents, part of Chuck Schumer's coalition. They will be competing for eight GOP seats - but all of these are in deep red states. According to the Western Journal, the states where Republican senators are retiring are very conservative - and their only realistic GOP Senate seat to compete for is Nevada. "Even if they did that, it would put them at 48 seats and the GOP at 50, in addition to two independents," they note.
The midterm elections will be held on November 6, 2018. All of the 435 House of Representatives seats will be up for grabs, while 33 of the 100 Senate seats will be contested.