Generic advantage Democratic candidates enjoy is down two-thirds since January

Margin shrunk to 4 points

By Dave Andrusko

A story in Wednesday’s Washington Post ran under the headline, “Abortion wars are heating up ahead of November midterms.”  I won’t have time to write directly about the ideas expressed there until tomorrow, but the gist fit nicely into our next story.

On Wednesday we wrote about a pro-abortion coalition’s vow to spend $30 million to election pro-abortion candidates in the 2018 mid-term elections. I wrote about it for many reasons but principally to remind us that National Right to Life makes up for the one-sided advantage pro-abortionists enjoy in resources with the power of truth, the self-sacrifice of hard-working volunteers and donors, and a history of making the most of every dollar.

But why did the pro-abortion coalition, led by the political action arm of Planned Parenthood, make that announcement this week? I’m speculating, of course, but it could well be that the absolute assurance that pro-abortion Democrats would fare well this year is rapidly eroding. They need a confidence boost, in other words.

The two indices that so much political chatter is based on are the so-called generic congressional ballot (without mention a specific candidate, what party—Republican or Democrat–does the respondent prefer); and partisan passion—how stoked are Democrats and Republicans?

The generic congressional ballot margins have been huge for Democrats, fueling a buoyancy that has passed arrogance on its way to cockiness. But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows the advantage is down to 4 points:

With the Republicans’ House majority at risk, 47 percent of registered voters say they prefer the Democratic candidate in their district, while 43 percent favor the Republican. That four-point margin compares with a 12-point advantage Democrats held in January.

What about passion/assurance they will vote?

The Post-ABC poll finds parity in stated voting intentions. Among registered voters, 68 percent of both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning registered voters say they are certain they will vote. This contrasts with Post-ABC polling ahead of the 2010 and 2014 midterm cycles, when Republicans averaged a double-digit advantage in intentions to vote and Democrats suffered major losses in both years.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit observed

It’s early yet, so those numbers could change. In fact, they have changed over time, but not in the manner Democrats hope. Republicans (and independents) have become more enthusiastic about voting in the midterms, while Democratic passion has plateaued since last November

If you read the ABC News story about the poll, written by Sofi Sinozich and Gary Langer, you’ll find loads of interesting nuggets. What explains the change?

Factors at play include a slide in self-reported registration among Democrats, which is a sign of waning engagement; consolidation among Republicans of their base; and better results for the GOP among less-educated Americans generally, and non-college-educated white women in particular.

Later in the piece they go into more specifics:

Three months ago, moreover, the two parties ran about evenly among registered voters with no more than a high school diploma, and among white women without college degrees. Now, GOP candidates now lead in both groups, by 11 and 15 points, respectively.

To repeat the point made above, it’s still early. But there is something else to keep in mind. If I understand Sinozich and Langer correctly, they read the results to suggest that the drag exerted by President Trump and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on their respective party’s candidates is pretty much of a wash. Except…

potentially, in terms of motivating the Republican base.

That’s like saying the impact of a tornado potentially could be hard on a small town. Pelosi is hugely unpopular with Republicans (and many Independents) which is one reason some Democrats are trying desperately to replace her as minority leader.

And it should not be overlooked that slowly but surely President Trump’s favorability ratings are improving.