Latest polls show Dems winning, but don’t take it for granted

Latest polls show Dems winning, but don’t take it for granted
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Twitter is a crazy place if you’re into politics. People must hit that refresh button at least a hundred times a day, hopeful to find a new political poll, another twist in the scandals surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE, or maybe just a photo of a technicolor squirrel (yes, the squirrel is real). With today’s news climate in America, you’re more likely than not to get one of the three — and then some. Not bad odds.

Putting aside fancy squirrels, since they don’t decide elections, you can easily find a split in the way the upcoming midterms are being analyzed. There are the polling aficionados and the Russia collusion aficionados and, although there’s some overlap, you can generally tell into which camps the Twitterati fall. As for me? I’m all about the numbers.

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Among recent polls, Nate Silver’s 538 forecast added some welcome color to the Cook Political Report’s August House Overview and the latest House update from Sabato’s Crystal Ball. In 538, Silver puts Democrats’ chances of taking the House at about 75 percent — admittedly, more bullish than the other polling outlets, but not by a huge margin.

 

There seems to be decent consensus amongst handicappers that Cook’s Amy Walter was spot on when she tweeted: “Ultimately, I think Ds either fall a few seats short of House majority or win 35+ seats. Tons of single-digit races that will break overwhelmingly to D or R on Election Day — won’t break 50-50.” Silver added: “This is right. In our model, there is a ~60% chance the Democrats *either* win 40+ seats *or* fail to take the House.”

That definitely makes Democrats feel less confident of a “blue wave” this fall, but who wants to relive the horror of dashed expectations (ala Nov. 8, 2016)? Plus, if you receive fundraising emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTimeline: The Trump whistleblower complaint DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Ukraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats MORE and other Democrats, you know they got the memo, too: No room for overconfidence.

The latest Fox News poll brought more good news for Democrats who are hungry for a November win. Not only is health care now tied with the economy as the No. 1 issue to Americans (18 percent) — an issue that has proven to be a boon to Democrats running in special elections from Virginia to New Jersey to Pennsylvania — but now ObamaCare has an 11-point higher approval rating than the Republican tax law.

Considering how many Republicans have been elected on a platform of repealing and replacing ObamaCare and delivering tax cuts, it’s hard to see how things could be so bleak for them. What’s more, 55 percent disapprove of how President Trump is handling health care; only 36 percent approve.

Democrats have made it clear that health care will be the central plank of their November campaigns — and for good reason. In our own polling at Bustle Trends Group, with VoteRunLead, we found that health care was the No. 1 issue for women in America across the ideological spectrum.

There was more bad news for President Trump in the Fox News poll, regarding his focus on immigration. On the issue of immigration generally, Trump received bad marks: 39 percent approve and 57 percent disapprove of how he’s handling this signature issue. What’s more, he gets negative ratings on border security, with 44 percent reporting that they approve of how he’s handling the issue and 51 percent disapproving.

In fact, President Trump’s only positive rating was on the economy, and the margin was only a few points: 49 percent approve and 44 percent disapprove.

If you’re running a campaign touting tax cuts that are rated well below your predecessor’s signature health care law, and the economy is doing well but fewer than 50 percent of voters approve, there’s got to be cause for concern.

Moving to the generic ballot, Democrats hold nearly a 7-point advantage, according to the Real Clear Politics average. Women are driving support for Democrats. While men split their preference between the two parties, there’s a 19-point advantage among women for the Democrats.

Trump always claims that his rallies are indicative of how enthusiastic Republican voters are, but the data appear to tell another story. Currently, among “extremely interested” voters, Democrats hold an almost 20-point lead, at 56 to 38, in the Fox News Poll. In the NBC News/WSJ survey, 63 percent of Democratic voters expressed a high level of interest in the midterms as compared to 52 percent of GOP voters. We’ve seen this play out in primaries and special elections across the country since Trump took office. It’s not a guarantee for election day, but Democratic enthusiasm is certainly a harbinger of good things to come.

The Fox News Poll actually was so good that it satisfied not just the numbers-seeking crowd, but also the crowd hungry for news from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election. The poll showed an 11-point increase in support for Mueller’s investigation during the past month. The president’s tweets calling the Mueller probe a “witch hunt” must not be resonating.

But any discussion of the midterms cannot ignore the all-important issue of money. The Republican National Committee (RNC) is raising heaps of it, outpacing the DNC. That said, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) are taking laps around their Republican counterparts and keeping Democrats within (monetary) striking distance.

All in all, it appears the Democrats are headed in the right direction. President Trump has pulled off miraculous wins before, and there’s still plenty of time before election day, but Democrats are working hard and they should be happy with where things stand right now. Still, if you don’t turn out in November, none of this matters — so please vote.

Jessica Tarlov is head of research at Bustle Digital Group and a Fox News contributor. She earned her Ph.D. at the London School of Economics in political science. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaTarlov.