17 days to go until midterm elections: what do we know?

By Dave Andrusko

As we are just over two weeks out from the most pivotal midterm elections in my memory, something attributed to Ben Franklin comes to mind:

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”

In this context, I would argue the application is that the anti-Trump elite that runs the Establishment Media has worked very, very hard to remain stupid—i.e., doubling down on their insistence that a “Blue Wave” will come rolling in.

Given that there are many more Democratic senators up for re-election than Republican, the better odds for a takeover were always the House.

What’s the evidence right now, the lay of the land?

Let me borrow generously from pro-life Townhall political editor Guy Benson, one of the sharpest political commentators around who talked yesterday about the possibility of a “blue tinted” year but speculated perhaps that may not even true.

We’ve talked at length about the weaknesses of the “generic ballot,” where people are not given the names of specific candidates but asked only which party “at that time” they would vote for. That notwithstanding, the Democrats advantage continues to shrink. A new Fox News poll has it at 7 points.

A major countervailing figure is President Trump’s growing job approval rating. It has reached 47% in the Fox News poll which, as Benson points out, is not an outlier. “Looking at Gallup’s tracker, an upward trend is undeniable,” Benson wrote, “a net gain of 11 points in one month.”

Benson speculates the reasons why, but clearly one is the economy.

In August, Americans split (47/51) in rating US economy excellent/good vs. fair/poor. It’s now (53/46).

What else? POLITICO offered a piece yesterday, however, which outlined a scenario where Republicans could hold the House, “if only by a few seats.”

It’s a product of Republican voters galvanized by the assault on now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a change in the political terrain where Democrats are giving up on seats they thought they had a shot at earlier in the political cycle, and incumbent Republicans regaining the momentum in certain congressional districts.

As Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said on Fox News last week “Let’s not forget the same geniuses that predicted a huge romp by that woman [Hillary Clinton] who lost in 2016 are the same people predicting a huge win by the Democrats this time.” She added, “So we have to be a little bit cautious.”

While not downplaying the difficulties, “At the same time, Republicans say there’s no question that their lot has improved in the past few weeks,” according to POLITICO’s Rachael Bade. “Their internal polls show the president’s approval ratings have increased by an average of 5 points in a handful of swing districts, giving Republicans who were underwater a fighting chance.

“GOP fortunes have improved in a grab bag of districts, from Trump strongholds where the Kavanaugh battle has energized conservatives, to racially diverse districts where incumbents with strong connections to voters appear to be staving off challengers.”

One other quick point, courtesy of HotAir’s Ed Morrissey, in addition to the impact of the “Kavanaugh Effect”:

How many has Trump himself galvanized in his barnstorming over the last few weeks? The polling mainly missed the surge of marginally attached voters that turned up in 2016, and may be missing it again now. Add that to the massive fundraising and organizing advantage the RNC has over the DNC, and we could be in for a surprise on Election Night.

The size of the Trump rallies are extraordinary and the President is energetically dedicated to saving the House and expanding the Republican advantage in the Senate.