WaPo Poll: Thanks to Trump, Dems Are Way Ahead

I consider the generic congressional ballot something of a black art, but everyone else obsesses over it so I suppose I might as well too. Here’s the latest from the Washington Post/ABC poll:

In this poll, Democrats are ahead by 14 points. That’s not bad. I typically remove three or four points from the Democratic number just because I think people are more likely to claim they want a Democratic Congress even when they don’t. That gets me to around 49-41, an 8-point difference. Then I subtract a net five points from the difference because that’s the margin Democrats need these days just to break even on Election Day. So that gets us to 46-44, and by chance that happens to fit my gut feel at the moment. It’s a bit of a pessimistic read, and the funny thing is that I’m less pessimistic about Democrats screwing things up than I usually am. Still, if you asked me for my take on Democrats controlling the House in 2019, I’d say it’s pretty close to even right now.

But then again, there’s also this:

There’s no time series for this question, so I don’t know how it compares to past polls. What’s more, the generic ballot (“How are you going to vote?”) is generally more predictive than a fuzzy question like this one (“How do you want everybody else to vote?”). Still 30 points is a lot. This question is worded as a referendum on Donald Trump, and that may be the tailwind that pushes the generic ballot in a blue direction. Put these two poll questions together, and I’m less pessimistic: I’m now willing to believe that Dems might win 54 percent of the popular vote and something like 230 seats. As it happens, that’s almost precisely what 538 is projecting right now. So things are looking pretty good for Dems, and if Trump keeps getting loopier between now and November, Dems might even pull off an epic wave. Maybe.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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