The government shutdown is already hurting the GOP in battleground congressional districts, according to new polling in two dozen districts currently controlled by Republicans.
The surveys, commissioned by the liberal group MoveOn.org Political Action and conducted by Public Policy Polling, suggest that the government shutdown may already be having a bigger impact than most analysts realize.
“Democrats must pick up 17 seats to win control of the House. These poll results make clear that if the election were held today, such a pickup would be well within reach,” said pollster Jim Williams. “The surveys challenge the conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats.”
We’re still 13 months out from next year’s midterm elections and the shutdown isn’t even over yet, so it’s too soon to draw any conclusions, but this new survey data is supported by national polls that suggest Americans are more likely to blame Republicans for the shutdown than President Obama and other Democrats. Two polls released last week, from CBS and Fox News, each found that the public blames Republicans over Democrats by about a 10 point margin. Only about 20 percent blamed both sides evenly.
The new PPP polls were conducted on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week, with sample sizes of between 600-700 registered voters in each of the 24 districts they surveyed. Most of the districts, including several in California, New York, Ohio, and Florida, are considered competitive.
In 17 of the districts, PPP found the Republican incumbent trailing a generic Democrat in a head-to-head contest among registered voters. Most of the incumbents’ approval ratings were underwater, meaning more respondents disapproved than approved.
Democrats are hoping to repeat their experience with the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, which helped lead to the reelection of President Clinton and to modest success for House Democrats.
See the full list of districts polled at a glance here and individual districts here: CA-10, CA-21, CA-31, CO-06, FL-02, FL-10, FL-13, IA-03, IA-04, KY-06, IL-13, MI-01, MI-07, MI-11, NV-03, NY-11, NY-19, NY-23, OH-06, OH-14 PA-07, PA-08, VA-02, and WI-07.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."