Just when a narrative was starting to take hold that a midterm wave could be slipping from the Democrats’ fingers, a few more data points emerged early this week to remind both parties that the election year is still young.
Despite the finger-pointing in the Democratic Party and rising Republican hopes that the tax code overhaul will be their party’s saving grace, Democrats just picked up another GOP-held state legislative seat (this one, in Kentucky, President Trump carried with 72 percent), Quinnipiac released a poll showing Democrats with a 15-point lead on the generic ballot, and a new Pennsylvania map made half a dozen districts more competitive for Democrats.
All of these things, combined with the number of well-funded Democrats running in House races across the country, the enthusiasm gap witnessed in special elections and state races over the past year, and Trump’s still-dismal 42 percent approval rating in the RCP average, are why it’s premature to look at a few polls more than eight months before Election Day and assume we just hit a pivot point.
Democrats’ concerns about having an economic message to counteract the Republican tax-cut sales pitch are warranted, and GOP donors opening their wallets in the wake of the law’s passage is significant. But, here in mid-February, the cycle is still ripe for wave conditions.
— Kyle Trygstad