SPOTLIGHT

2017 Elections Provided Midterm Preview

Both parties have some useful data to prepare for next year.

President Donald Trump waves as he walks across the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, after returning from Camp David in Maryland. Trump says he's not planning to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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Kyle Trygstad
Dec. 18, 2017, 9:45 a.m.

President Trump reminded his Twitter followers Monday morning that he is all about winning, but Republicans’ five House special election victories belie the story of 2017.

Beyond Democrats’ triumphant wins in Virginia, New Jersey, and Alabama, Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman has noted the clear pattern of Democratic overperformance even in races in heavily Republican districts in which the party didn’t prevail.

For Republicans, this year’s elections gave a preview of what an energized Democratic coalition mixed with a depressed GOP base and historically unpopular president could look like in 2018. As the New York Times reported, that dynamic led the five most recent NRCC chairmen to deliver a warning to lawmakers that they are about to hit headwinds many in the conference haven’t experienced before.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday was the latest flare. Democrats hit 50 percent and led by 11 points in the generic ballot, which is similar to what the numbers looked like at this point in the 2006 cycle.

Kyle Trygstad

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