In a recent article, we reported that FiveThirtyEight is giving Democrats a three-to-one chance of taking the House in November. We did question that, since there are so many Republican incumbents who are in safe districts. Now, we hear from CBS–one of Donald Trump’s least favorite media outlets—questioning the “Blue Wave” to win the House.
CBS News pollster Anthony Salvanto says a “Blue Wave” is unlikely in November, noting that it doesn’t matter what the national numbers say. This election is about local candidates.
Salvanto’s polling currently indicates that few House seats will change hands in November — and that the GOP could very well hold its majority in the House. “In this era, a district’s voting patterns from the past tend to stay that way,” Salvanto said. “Not as many partisans today are willing to cross party lines.” Of the nation’s 435 House districts, fully 85 percent will almost certainly stick with its current party affiliation come November, Salvanto projects.
Choosing the 15 percent of districts that could flip is as much an art as a science, Salvanto said, but “there’s already a consensus forming among pollsters on what districts they are.”. . .
“We also look at where the campaigns are spending money,” he noted — a sign that the parties’ own internal data sees a potential pick-up or a possible loss. . .
“Even though Republicans have not fared well in special elections so far this cycle, it does look like they will be turning out for the midterms,” Salvanto said. “So far we do not see a large number of Republicans saying they will flip and vote for a Democrat.”
GOP voters in the past have been much more likely than Democrats to turn up and cast ballots in midterm elections, regardless of each party’s enthusiasm level ahead of Election Day.
So Democrats are literally betting the House on their ability to capture large numbers of voters who don’t normally vote in midterm elections. “They have to bring new voters in,” Salvanto said.
Salvanto says it’s likely that Democrats will pick up a few seats, but not enough to win the House. But some say Democrats won’t even do that well, according to Republican strategist Ed Rollins, who says Trump’s domination of the news makes a difference.
“There’s no blue wave out there,” Rollins predicted. “The Senate, which we had big opportunities, have not turned out to be quite so. There’s probably five to eight Senate seats on both sides that are in play. I think we will hold the Senate, and I think we will hold the House. Margins may be smaller in the House, but it’s certainly going to hold it.”. . .
He’s dominated the — the last two-and-a-half years. No president, no candidate has ever dominated the media, both the cable news, the social media, what have you. He understands it well. His people understand it well.
The Daily Caller agrees that Democrats are dreaming, pointing to history.
Using election data since 1946, on average the president’s party (Republican or Democratic) loses 21 seats in the first midterm election. But that average masks big swings, from a 63-seat loss in 2010 to an 8-seat gain in 2002. The median loss is just 15 seats. The current partisan makeup is 236-193 with 6 vacancies. RealClearPolitics puts Republicans as favorites in 202 seats, Democrats in 199 seats with 24 tossups. . .
Democrats hope to see a repeat of the 2006 midterms where dissatisfaction with the Iraq War caused Republicans to lose their House majority for the first time since 1994 with a Democratic gain of 31 seats. But that scenario is problematic. At that time George W. Bush’s approval rating was 37 percent in the month prior to Election Day with a disapprove of 58 percent. Trump has a higher approval rating of 43 percent (46 percent Rassmussen) and lower disapproval rating of 53 percent. . .
Both current polling and the historic data point to a very close result on Election Day. The biggest Democratic seat gain since the 1974 Watergate election (+48 seats) was the 2006 Iraq War election. With Trump polling at higher popularity than Bush in 2006, it seems likely that the Democrats will not surpass their 31-seat gain. That leaves very little margin for error to obtain a majority.
Of course, Investors Business Daily naturally points to economic issues.
For one thing, the public’s mood continues to improve. The closely-watched IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index hit 56.7 in February, the highest it’s been in 13 years.
Other signs of economic gains — continued job growth, wage gains, the stock market, which despite its recent turmoil is still way up from a year ago — have also became more obvious. . .
Worse for Democrats, the public is starting to credit Trump for the good economic news.
And that generic ballot? The Democrats’ huge lead has collapsed. The IBD/TIPP poll had them up by just 5 points. In December, by way of contrast, a CNN poll had Democrats up by 18 points.
The Morning Consult poll released this week shows Republicans with a lead of one point on its generic ballot question.
In fact, the Washington Examiner says that Democrats know they are not going to have a big win.
“I think the blue wave has receded somewhat,” said Pat Caddell, a longtime Democratic pollster and consultant who is now a Fox News contributor. . .
“Democrats can’t wish themselves into the majority,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorman. “The fact is that record low unemployment, record high wage growth, and a historic summit with North Korea has put Republicans in a position to defy history and hold the House.”
“Democrats are using the ‘blue wave’ moniker as a rallying cry because they have no other message to run on,” said Sarah Dolan of America Rising PAC. “The economy is booming while tax cuts are putting money back in Americans’ pockets and running on the issue of impeachment won’t sway voters. In the Senate, the red state Democrats have resoundingly low favorables and the tightening generic ballot shows that Democrats haven’t shored up this cycle as much as they’d like to pretend.”. . .
A May Morning Consult poll. . .found plurality support for electing a new person. That option led 46 percent to 31 percent for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; 43 percent to 30 percent for Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; 30 percent to 25 percent for Al Franken replacement Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.; 49 percent to 35 percent for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; and an amazing 53 percent to 29 percent for Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is also 7 points underwater in her job approval rating.
And, finally, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and others—including Newt Gingrich, talking to Fox–are seeing the beginning of a Red Wave.
Over the past few days, four building blocks have fallen into place that strengthen the case for a red wave of Republican victories in the November midterm elections, wiping out Democratic hopes for a blue wave.
Three of these building blocks are Republican-favoring political developments in what would normally be considered safe, blue states.. .
First, New Jersey’s U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez is a Democrat who has been deeply weakened by charges of corruption. . . At a minimum, this puts New Jersey in play for Republicans and will draw millions of Democratic dollars away from other races to defend Menendez. . .
Second, the California primary put Republican John Cox in the general election for governor running against Democratic Lt. Gov. (and former mayor of San Francisco) Gavin Newsom.
The difference in statewide Republican turnout with a GOP candidate on the ballot for governor has been estimated at 23 percent. This turnout will make the governor’s race competitive and could be the difference between winning and losing a number of House seats.
Third, Minnesota Democrats went crazy last Saturday, and their state convention was taken over by the hard left. . .
This combination of personality-driven bitterness and ideological extremism has suddenly made Minnesota Democrats vulnerable. Long-time Minnesota analyst Barry Casselman has written shrewdly that former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now likely to be the next governor and that two Democratic House seats are now likely to go Republican (making the possibility of a Democratic House this fall more unlikely).
The fourth building block that strengthens the case for a red wave in November is the growing and undeniable strength of the economy. . .Americans are beginning to conclude that their lives are getting better, and that President Trump and Republican leadership are a part of that phenomenon.
The result has been a collapse of the Democratic advantage in the generic ballot from a double-digit lead in December to some polls now showing Republicans on top. This is an enormous shift.
This is not cheerleading. These are specific reasons why the “Blue Wave” is weakening, and may even reverse direction.