When CNN is admitting it, Democrats have a problem.
As the dust settles from this week’s primary elections, which considerably boosted the outlook for President Donald Trump’s agenda for the November, the cable news network that has been in a death struggle with the Trump administration from the beginning was forced to revise one huge piece of conventional wisdom.
And it had its own polling to blame.
Since almost the time Trump put his hand on the Bible to take the oath of office, mainstream media like CNN have been predicting a “blue wave” election for the 2018 midterms that would sweep Democrats back into power in the legislative branch of government.
A few special election victories for Democrats helped feed the narrative — such as Democrat Doug Jones over Roy Moore for the Senate in deep red Alabama or “moderate” Conor Lamb over a wishy-washy Republican in a GOP congressional district in western Pennsylvania — but a new CNN poll released Wednesday is puncturing that liberal pipe dream.
New numbers show a once-mighty Democrat lead in generic balloting has all but disappeared as Trump continues his work in the White House.
In a country as divided as politically divided as the United States, that’s not a bad place for an incumbent party to be with six months to go and a tailwind of good news going for it.
In an interview on CNN Wednesday, David Chalian, the network’s political director, explained how polling trends are pushing in the GOP’s favor after looking bleak in the heart of winter.
“Go back to February, it was a 16-point Democratic edge,” Chalian said. “In March it was a 6-point Democratic edge. And what you see now is just a 3-point edge for Democrats. It’s within the margin of error. That’s the first time it’s been that close this entire cycle. So that is going to be good news for Republicans.”
And let’s just say Chalian isn’t exactly a booster for the Republican Party. Not only is he a CNN vice president, which should be prima facie evidence of liberalism, he’s also a harsh critic of the Trump White House. For instance, Chalian used a CNN panel interview last week to say White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had lost all credibility with the American public.
Meanwhile, CNN editor-at-large Chris Cilizza managed to write a piece under this grudging headline: “The New CNN Poll Has Some Actual Good News for Republicans.”
Cilizza noted there was more to the poll than the Democrats’ favorability edge disappearing. Eight in 10 voters said the economy was “extremely” or “very” important to their votes. In the 15 months Trump has been in office, the economy has been roaring.
Cilizza also noted that opposition to Trump personally is fading somewhat. While 52 percent of voters in January said they’d be more inclined to vote for a candidate opposed to Trump, that number was down to 48 percent in the new poll.
That’s still a lot, but since liberals’ blind opposition to all things Trump is the major force behind the alleged “blue wave,” a drop of 4 percentage points could make a huge difference.
Finally, Cilizza stressed that Republican enthusiasm about the midterms is growing.
Then he got to “the point” — the paragraph that has to kill liberals who are already counting their victories in the November races:
“None of this is definitive proof that Republicans will be able to beat back the Democratic wave,” Cilizza wrote. “But for a party that has been without much good news for months, this poll will look like an oasis in the desert to GOP strategists and candidates.”
For liberals who have been fantasizing about Nancy Pelosi returning to the post of speaker in a Democrat-run House or Representatives, or Elizabeth Warren gearing up her 2020 presidential run as a member of the new Democrat Senate majority, this is not what they want to hear.
There’s little doubt the poll looks good for Trump supporters. And it’s a dead certainty that just reporting results like this had to be a tough assignment for the die-hard anti-Trumpers in the mainstream media.
But when even CNN is reporting on problems of Democratsheading into the midterms, it’s not just an oasis in the desert for Republicans.
It might mean that Democrat wave is more of a mirage.
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