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3 new polls show Democrats really could flip the House in November

These are the generic ballot numbers Democrats want to see.

The resistance wants to come for the House.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The 2018 midterms are looking even better for Democrats less than two months from Election Day, according to three polls released Wednesday.

Here’s what they found:

  • Registered voters prefer the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate in their district by 52 percent to 38 percent — a 14-point advantage for Democrats — in US House races, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.
  • Another generic ballot poll from NPR and Marist College finds Democrats with a 12-point advantage in the 2018 midterms.
  • And Politico and Morning Consult found Democrats with a 10-point advantage over Republicans, 45 percent to 35 percent.

All three generic ballot polls — which ask about “the Democratic candidate” or “the Republican candidate” rather than using specific contenders’ names — show a healthy lead for Democrats, even if they differ on how big the lead is. Having a strong showing in the generic ballot is a crucial indicator of Democrats’ potential success in November. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen reported, election analysts will tell you that looking toward November, Democrats should be comfortable with a 10-point lead in the generic ballot.

But as Vox has also reported, the generic ballot has had its ups and downs all year, and it’s not going to be an easy election for Democrats by any means. In early August, Democrats’ double-digit lead in the generic ballot had shrunk to only 4 points. The RealClearPolitics average now sits around an 8.4-point advantage for Democrats, and while that’s good, it’s not great.

That said, historically, the president’s party is disadvantaged going into the midterm elections, and Trump’s unpopularity isn’t doing Republicans any favors. Meanwhile, there have been surges in primary turnout for Democrats, which indicates high levels of political involvement and enthusiasm. And Democratic candidates have been out-fundraising their Republican opponents across the country.

Here’s some other evidence that Democrats are in a good position for November:

  • Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters are more enthusiastic about voting in this midterm election than Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters, the Washington Post/ABC poll found last week.
  • Democrats have a 6-point advantage over Republicans in key competitive districts considered a toss-up, and Republicans only have a 2-point lead in districts that lean conservative, an early September Morning Consult generic ballot poll found. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently considers 37 congressional districts as toss-ups this November. Democrats need to gain 23 seats to take back control of the House.
  • President Donald Trump’s approval rating is notably lower in competitive congressional districts, according to Morning Consult. His approval rating remains at a low 44 percent nationwide, and it sinks to 37 percent in Democratic-leaning districts and 42 percent in districts that are considered toss-ups.

If Democrats can keep this level of enthusiasm through Election Day, it’s very possible Congress will see some new leadership.