Seeing Red: Polls Show GOP Likely To Rebound in California Districts


It’s no secret that California is a deep blue state, but Orange County has been a Republican stronghold in the Golden State for years.

That is until 15-term incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was ousted by Democratic challenger Harley Rouda during one of the more widely publicized races of 2018.

Obviously, losing a seat that you’ve held for a generation stings for the Republican Party, especially when Orange County is one of the few major population centers that has consistently stuck with the GOP.

In fact, the 2018 election as a whole wasn’t much to celebrate, as it saw a net change of 41 House seats flip to Democratic control, even though Republicans increased their advantage in the Senate.

Fortunately, Rouda, along with at least a few other California freshmen, appears to be in trouble come 2020.

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An August poll by TargetPoint Consulting, reported by RealClear Politics, shows the congressman in a dead heat with top Republican challenger Michelle Steel, tied at 42 percent with the remaining 16 percent undecided.

That largely has to do with Rouda’s inability to make an impression with his constituents. Only 30 percent have a favorable view of him, while 42 percent either hold an unfavorable view or don’t know who he is altogether.

Only 28 percent said they are sure they want to re-elect their congressman.

Given the overwhelming advantage that incumbents typically hold in House races (roughly 93 percent of races have gone to incumbents since 1964), it’s terrifying for a representative to see a challenger polling so well this far from the election.

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This is a strong sign for the Republican resurgence in California’s 48th District, which went to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a mere 1.7 percentage points, a far cry from her 30-point margin throughout the state.

Other California House races are looking good for Republicans as well, such as the struggle for the 39th District. Democratic Rep. Gilbert Cisneros is reportedly trailing Republican Young Kim in a direct rematch of 2018.

That’s not even the most promising race.

Polls from July show Democratic freshman Rep. TJ Cox of California’s 21st District behind “a potential Republican challenger” 36 percent to 52 percent. Former Rep. David Valadao has since filed to run, but it’s not a good sign when you’re trailing literally no one by 16 points.

Undoubtedly, midterm elections tend to bring about doomsday predictions for the losing party, but one year later the Republicans aren’t looking too bad.

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In fact, it’s perfectly normal to lose seats in a midterm election when your president is widely despised by the other party. It’s easy to bang the drum and drive turnout when there’s a bogeyman for them to punch at.

In 2020, Republicans and conservatives will also have a villain, and it’s likely to have a similar effect.

These poll numbers, combined with President Donald Trump himself being back on the ballot next year, are a great step on the road to recovery for the GOP.

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Cade graduated Lyon College with a BA in Political Science in 2019, and has since acted as an assignment editor with The Western Journal. He is a Christian first, conservative second.
Cade graduated Lyon College with a BA in Political Science in 2019, and has since acted as an assignment editor with The Western Journal. He is a Christian first, conservative second.
BA Political Science, Lyon College (2019)