A brand new poll has revealed a major development in the race to control Congress.
After months of generic surveys showing Republicans trailing their Democrat counterparts — many such polls indicating the GOP is underwater by double digits — the results of a survey released Wednesday revealed that Republicans have not only erased this advantage, but have now actually taken the lead.
The numbers are also good news for President Donald Trump, whose approval rating is now at equal footing with his disapproval rating.
According to Politico/Morning Consult, 39 percent of registered voters indicated that they would choose a Republican candidate for Congress in their district, while 38 percent of respondents said they would support the Democrat candidate.
Approximately a quarter of respondents, 23 percent, said they were still undecided.
Additionally, 47 percent of voters said they approve of President Trump’s job performance. The same percentage of voters said they disapprove.
The numbers, while not appearing to be stellar news at first glance, are actually striking given where the GOP stood just weeks prior.
The Republican Party’s new 1-point advantage follows three months of tracking in which Democrats continually led in generic polling. Not long ago, Democrats boasted double-digit leads.
Last December, an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll had Democrats 11 points ahead of the GOP. In January, that same poll showed the Democrat advantage had narrowed down to 6 points. An Ipsos survey in December showed national Democrats ahead by 14 points. In January, their poll, too, narrowed the gap to just six points.
Moreover, a CNN poll released in December showed Republicans trailing Democrats by nearly 20 points. In January, that same CNN survey showed Republicans trailing only by five points, meaning that the GOP narrowed the gap by 13 points in just a single month.
A look at the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls shows Democrats ahead by 6.6 points on the generic ballot.
While that number is still a good sign for Democrats, it’s a steep decline from their 13-point advantage late last year. The current RCP average, notably, does not include the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll.
The same sort of swing is evident in Trump’s approval ratings — his level of popularity will likely be pivotal in how Republicans perform this election cycle.
Trump has battled low approval numbers for most of his presidency. As recently as January, numerous surveys showed his approval numbers dipping into the 30s.
In the past month, however, the Republican president has experienced a steady bump in ratings — as showcased by almost every survey released in the last few weeks. For the first time since April, voters now approve of Trump as much as they disapprove of him.
What is causing this GOP rise?
“House Republicans are delivering on the promises we made to voters in 2016,” Chris Martin, a National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman, said to The Western Journal.
Martin was referring to the passage of tax reform and a host of other accomplishments made under the Trump administration and the GOP-controlled Congress.
The enactment of tax cuts, the most comprehensive in over 20 years, led a flood of major U.S. companies to announce pay raises, bonuses and other benefits to lower-level employees. The headlines proved to be a headache for national Democrats who had predicted the reforms would be catastrophic.
“The improving poll numbers and growing GOP confidence isn’t an accident,” Kevin Seifert, the executive director of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s political operation, told The Washington Post earlier this month.
“This development is happening because Americans are recognizing that Democrats overplayed their hand on tax reform. As companies dole out bonuses, raise wages for workers, and families see the positive impact that this law is having on their lives, they understand that the Republican House majority is working for them.”
Since the passage of the GOP-led tax reform bill, a significant majority of Americans believe the economy is in great shape, as proven in the latest survey.
“Not only have Republicans increased support on the generic congressional ballot, they are now trusted more to handle the most important issue when voters head to the polls: the economy,” stated Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s chief research officer and co-founder.
“In mid-December, 39 percent of voters said they trusted Democrats more to handle the economy, compared to 38 percent who said Republicans. Today, 43 percent say Republicans and 32 percent say Democrats.”
Jason Hopkins is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.
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