The Left has insisted that dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump will push the Democrats into the driver’s seat, allowing them to sweep the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in November 2018. Some polls have demonstrated a Democrat advantage in the “generic ballot,” but the Democrat advantage has shrunk considerably in recent months. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) remains exceedingly unpopular.
According to a CNN/SSRS poll released this week, Democrats have a slight lead of 3 percent ahead of Republicans. When asked if the elections for Congress were held today, only 47 percent of voters said they would vote blue, while 44 percent said they would choose the Republican candidate.
These numbers represented a steep drop since February. That month, 54 percent of voters said they would choose the Democrat, while 38 percent said they would vote Republican, putting Democrats up on the generic ballot by 16 points. In March, that lead dropped to 6 points.
Only 31 percent said they think the country would be “better off” if the Democratic Party controlled Congress, while 30 percent said America would do better with the GOP in charge. A full 34 percent said things would be “the same regardless.”
In the same poll, 57 percent of voters said things are going well in the U.S. today, up 49 percent from February. This represents the largest proportion to have a rosy view of America since January 2007.
While Trump still had a negative approval rating (with only 41 percent approving of his job, and 53 percent disapproving), more voters approved of his job on specific issues.
On the economy, 52 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s job, an increase of 4 percent since March. More voters approve of his efforts on foreign trade (up 5 points to 43 percent), on foreign affairs (up 3 points to 43 percent), and on immigration (up 4 points to 40 percent).
Roughly two-thirds of voters (64 percent) said they consider Trump to be extremely or very important to their vote for Congress this year. Among the about 40 percent who said Trump will be extremely important to their vote in November, 51 percent said they would support a candidate who opposes the president, while 46 percent said they would prefer a Trump supporter.
While Trump may drive Democrats to the polls, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) may also have the same effect for the GOP. Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans said they had an unfavorable view of Pelosi, while only 30 percent said they viewed her favorably.
Although House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) also faced an underwater favorability (46 percent unfavorable, 38 percent favorable), Republicans proved more positive toward Ryan (67 percent favorable) than Democrats were toward Pelosi (57 percent favorable). Also, Ryan is not running for re-election in November, so his leadership has less power to motivate Democrats.
When it comes to specific issues, voters said they prioritize as “important factors”: the economy (84 percent), health care (80 percent), immigration (76 percent), gun policy (76 percent), taxes (73 percent), sexual harassment (58 percent), and the Russia investigation (40 percent).
As for the generic ballot, the results of the CNN/SSRS poll from previous years prove illuminating. In May 2006, Democrats had a powerful advantage over the GOP, with 52 percent of voters saying they would vote blue and 38 percent saying they would go red. That year did indeed prove a wave year for Democrats, and Pelosi has adopted the Democrat slogan from 2006. Republicans in 2018 are not facing anything like that kind of disadvantage.
In May 2010, the poll actually had Democrats up — by just one point, 47 percent to 46 percent. Two years after Barack Obama’s election, 2010 saw a wave election for Republicans. In May 2014, another strong year for the GOP, Republicans only had a one point lead on Democrats (46 percent to 45 percent).
Six months out, polls are not usually predictive. Furthermore, the generic ballot only applies in the abstract, and particular candidates can have a large impact on a voter’s choice in November. The 2018 race could swing either way, but if this poll is at all accurate, the parties are much closer to even than the liberal narrative suggests.