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New 2018 midterm poll has Democrats up 14 points on Republicans

Democrats are regaining a strong footing to take back control of the House.

Anti-Trump Protesters Demonstrate In Pittsburgh
Midterm generic ballot polling shows Democrats in a good position for November.
Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The final post-Labor Day sprint to Election Day has begun, most of the candidates for the House and Senate have been decided, and Democrats are regaining a strong footing in the fight for control of Congress, according to two new polls:

  • 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 — according to a Washington Post-ABC poll released on Tuesday. The poll, which surveyed nearly 900 people between August 26 and 29, boasts some of the biggest leads for Democrats since January of this year. It has a 4-point margin of error.
  • 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 also found.
  • Democrats have a 6-point advantage over Republicans in key competitive districts considered a toss-up, according to a generic ballot poll that asks about parties but not specific candidates. Republicans only have a 2-point lead in districts that lean conservative, a Tuesday Morning Consult poll found. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently considers 37 congressional districts as a toss-up 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. Trump’s 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 a toss-up.

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.

Having a strong showing in the generic ballot is a crucial indicator of Democrats’ potential success in November. And in a year that Democrats need to overcome a challenging congressional map, the turnout and fundraising numbers are all positive signs for the Democratic party.

But as Vox has 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’ early double-digit lead in the generic ballot shrunk to only 4 points. The Real Clear Politics average now sits around a 9.5 point advantage for Democrats.

As Vox’s Ella Nilsen reported, election analysts will tell you a 9-point lead is good — but it’s not necessarily great.

That said, it’s still a clear advantage.

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