A new Fox News poll shows the pendulum swinging toward Republican candidates as this fall’s crucial midterm elections begin to take shape.
The poll showed Democrats up by 15 points in an October poll that asked whether voters would support a generic Republican or Democratic candidate. However, that 50 percent-to-35 percent edge has shrunk, with 46 percent of voters supporting a Democrat and 41 percent a Republican, according to Fox News.
The poll had a margin of error of three percentage points.
“Just winning the popular national vote is not enough to flip the House,” said Republican pollster Daron Shaw. “Given the GOP’s districting advantages, data from 2012 and 2014 show the Democrats need an edge of at least five points to bring the majority into play.”
Democrat Chris Anderson, who conducts the poll for Fox along with Shaw, said the poll is a snapshot and not a crystal ball.
“I like this question as a gauge of perceptions month to month. But its predictive power seven months from the election is dubious,” he said.
Anderson said that in March 2014, Democrats had a two-point edge in a generic contest between a nameless Republican and nameless Democrat, but Republicans gained 13 House seats that year.
One Democratic pollster has said that the elections are likely to affirm American voters’ traditional preference for middle-of-the-road candidates, saying the special election in Pennsylvania that saw Democrat Conor Lamb defeat Republican Rick Saccone was a rejection of partisan extremes.
“After so much talk that the party was moving to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (the election) really reaffirms the power of a centrist Democrat,” pollster Mark said on The Cat’s Roundtable radio show on AM 970 in New York City, Newsmax reported.
“Conor Lamb really took a lot of centrist positions. He backed a lot of what President Trump was saying. And he came out explicitly against Nancy Pelosi,” Penn said.
Penn added that, “whoever owns the center wins. And whoever really goes too far to the right or too far to the left invariably, eventually loses.”
Republicans have accepted that the midterm elections, a time when a sitting president’s party often sees its support erode, will be a challenge.
“The odds are that we will lose seats in the House and the Senate,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in February, according to The New York Times. “History tells you that, the fired-up nature of the political left tells you that. We go into this clear-eyed that this is going to be quite a challenging election.”
Even President Donald Trump has indicated some doubts about whether his personal popularity is enough to offset the traditional midterm slump.
“I don’t know if it’s transferable, I’m not sure if it is. They all like me, they’re all going to vote for me and say I’m going to do great in 2020 but they don’t know if it’s transferable,” Trump was quoted by Newsweek as saying to college students during a recent White House event. “I hope it is because we have to do our agenda in 2018 and win, we need more Republicans.”
Republicans currently control the House, with 238 seats. Democrats hold 192 seats, and there are five current vacancies. In the Senate, Republicans hold 51 seats and Democrats 47 seats. Two senators were elected as independents, but caucus with the Democrats.
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