Republican losses in off-year New Jersey, Virginia, and Alabama elections have party leaders fearful of the possibility that a wave election may be in the offing for the 2018 midterm that will sweep Democrats into control of both houses of Congress.
A new poll from the Monmouth University Polling Institute will also give the GOP plenty of heartburn and sleepless nights. The survey, released on Wednesday, shows that if we held the midterm elections today, 51 percent of voters would cast their ballots for Democratic candidates. Only 36 percent indicated they would vote for a Republican, a 15-point deficit for the GOP.
A look at the numbers in-depth shows very bad news for Republicans, with only 16 percent saying they approve of the job the current Congress is doing, while 65 percent say they disapprove.
Asked how they felt about President Trump, only 32 percent said they approve of his job performance; the lowest number since he took office in January.
Even more troubling for Republicans is the fact that Democrats also lead by 3 points over their GOP counterparts in so-called “swing counties” across the nation that Trump carried in 2016 by 10 points or less.
Interviews with state legislative leaders suggest that Republican anxiety about 2018 is palpable, and many blame Trump. Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, commented:
“I think President Trump’s favorability ratings, I’ve got to be honest about it, they’re certainly not helpful. If it were up to me, I would try to have him showcase more of the good things that he is doing as opposed to picking arguments with whoever it would be. I don’t think that’s helpful to me as an elected official.”
Thad Kousser, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, said 2018, like all midterm elections, will be a referendum on Trump:
“People use midterm elections to stick it to the executive. Trump is the touchstone of American politics. You can’t vote against him in 2018, but you can vote against his party.”