The only question Democrats should be asking themselves about taking control of the House of Representatives in 2018 is “What color does Nancy Pelosi want for the drapes?” At least, that’s the conventional wisdom. Add together the fact that it’s Trump’s first term (first-term midterms are usually bad for the party in the White House); Republicans have lost far more special election since Trump’s election than they’ve won: and the fact that, well, it’s President Trump, and it would appear that a Democratic House majority is a 2019 lock.
Small data points keep appearing that give the Republican faithful reason to hope. The most recent is a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showing younger voters’ support for the Democratic Party fading as the midterms draw nearer.
Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials as its candidates head into the crucial midterm congressional elections, according to the Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll. The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall.
And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy. That presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count on millennials as a core constituency – and will need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
NHJournal has already reported why younger voters have less of an impact on New Hampshire elections than almost any other state. However, any sign that anti-GOP sentiment might be fading is good news for embattled Republicans hoping to pick up a congressional seat in New Hampshire this year.
Other recent pro-GOP data points include:
Democrats’ Lead On Generic Ballot Has Gone From “Humongous” To Merely “Big”
In February there were polls showing Democrats had a 14-point lead on the question “Would you rather be represented by a Democrat or a Republican in Congress?” That’s a huge number, historically speaking. But the latest Real Clear Politics average shows the Democrats’ advantage down to 6.8 percent, and the trend is narrowing. It’s still a sizable lead—about the same lead the GOP had just before the 2010 midterms when they won 63 seats and took control of the House. So while the number may be improving….it’s still bad.
The GOP And Its Allies Are Raising Lots of Money.
The Republican National Committee recently announced it raised $39 million in the first three months of 2018, including a record $13.8 million haul in March. It’s part of a $250 million campaign for the midterms. Meanwhile, the NRA just announced it set a one-month record in fundraising for its political arm. It’s true that Democrats are also raising a lot of money but, given the enthusiasm gap, the GOP can be encouraged by the fact that they’re keeping it close.
Trump’s Approval Rating Seems To Have Stabilized at “Mediocre.”
Nate Silver, the notorious numbers-cruncher at FiveThirtyEight.com made an interesting observation at the end of April: The Trump presidency may be volatile, but his numbers are not.
“Trump’s approval rating has been between 40.0% and 41.1% for 55 consecutive days in our tracking. It really doesn’t move very much at all. And it’s not like there hasn’t been news during this period.”
Now add in the fact that the overwhelmingly-negative media coverage makes some percentage of Trump supporters unwilling to admit it to pollsters—say, around 3 percent—and you’ve got a president whose real approval is around 45 percent. Not great, but not a disaster, either.
All in all, Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearPolitics told NHPolitics.com: “Trump’s improving job numbers and the narrowing generic ballot suggest that Republicans have a fighting chance, though not much of one.”
Which is why so many GOP candidates in 2018 are recalling the words of that great political philosopher, Lloyd Christmas: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…”