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New poll: Democrats have an 8-point generic ballot lead over Republicans in the 2018 midterms

It’s good news for Democrats — if they can keep the momentum going.

Nation Goes To The Polls In Contentious Presidential Election Between Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The latest 2018 elections poll is good news for Democrats — if they can keep momentum going until November.

A Monmouth University poll released Thursday shows Democrats have an 8-point lead on the GOP in the generic congressional ballot, a poll question that asks whether people would vote for a Republican or Democrat congressional candidate next year.

If the 2018 election for the House of Representatives was held today, Monmouth found that 49 percent of registered voters said they would either support or lean toward the Democratic candidate in their district, compared to 41 percent who said they would support the Republican candidate.

This is similar to the result Monmouth found two months ago — when 50 percent of registered voters said they’d vote for Democrats, as opposed to the 41 percent who said they’d vote for Republicans.

The current generic ballot polling average from RealClearPolitics, which averages out all recent polls, has Democrats up by 6.7 percent. The generic ballot is a big predictor of which party could win the House in 2018, and both the 7 and 8-point leads from Monmouth and the RealClearPolitics average are good signs for Democrats.

“The House race outlook has held fairly steady over the past two months,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a statement. “Even though the public has a negative view of both the Republican and Democrat caucuses, the GOP tends to take more of a hit on the ballot test because it is the party in power.”

Monmouth pollsters also asked voters about a number of policy issues that are sure to play big in 2018, including the GOP tax cuts passed late last year.

They found 40 percent of registered voters polls approve of the tax cuts, while 44 percent said they disapprove. But there are more voters who say they strongly disapprove of the tax cuts (29 percent) compared to those who strongly approve (19 percent).

That doesn’t bode well for Republicans if they are planning to run on tax cuts in order to preserve their majority in the House. It’s a weakness the Democrats plan to hit on during the campaign, as well as highlighting the failed GOP attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The Democrats’ generic lead advantage has fallen since December, when they were ahead by 13 points. But a 7 to 8-point lead could still be enough to flip the House in November. To get a sense of what the generic ballot leads mean, it’s helpful to look at past elections, according to RealClearPolitics’ averages.

  • 2002: Republicans +1.7, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2004: Tied generic ballot, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2006: Democrats +11.5, wave flips House to Democrats
  • 2008: Democrats +9, wave further increases Democratic House majority
  • 2010: Republicans +9.4, wave flips House to Republicans
  • 2012: Republicans +0.2, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2014: Republicans +2.4, gains in Republican-controlled House during national GOP wave
  • 2016: Democrats +0.6, minor change in Republican-controlled House
  • 2018: Democrats +6.7

Obviously we are still in for a long summer and fall until November, and the ballot is likely to continue to fluctuate. But the fact that Democrats have been posting solid numbers for months is a good sign.

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