Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Live By The Poll, Die By The Poll-- The Wave Is Coming Anyway. Look What Happened In Florida Tonight!


No one knows how to dampen down voter enthusiasm as well as corporate Democrats

Lately I've found myself spending an hour or two a day hand-holding long-shot candidates in R+15 districts who are freaking out because the Democratic advantage in polling pitting a generic Democrat against a generic Republican has taken a dip. First of all, that Democratic advantage primarily has to do with the Democratic enthusiasm level inside the Democratic base plus the swing away from Republicans among independents and the lack of enthusiasm among Republicans. As real life voters get to see the shitty Blue Dogs and New Dems from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party who the DCCC has recruited, base enthusiasm starts to collapse and the congressional races turn into the only field the DCCC ever plays on: "we're the lesser of two evils-- we may be bad but just look at the Republican!" (Besides, districts with PVIs above R+10... well the wave would have to be the biggest electoral wave in the history of electoral waves.)

The DCCC staff, steeped entirely in Rahm Emanuel's and Steve Israel's tragically failed strategies, recruits candidates the base can't possibly be enthusiastic about, like the lite-weight Qualcomm heiress from Brooklyn for San Diego or the "ex"-Republican lottery winner from coastal Orange County pretending to have moved into an inland district to run. Even in districts where Bernie beat Hillary and got more primary votes than Trump, the DCCC thinks recruiting horrendous reactionary corporate candidates is the way to go-- what fools they are! And will always be... until Pelosi is gone and someone comes in and cleans house entirely of that den on iniquity.

Anyway... I wandered the course a little from talking about the generic polling. I don't always agree with Beltway prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg, but he hit a nail on the head Monday morning. He noted, as I have, that "a deeper look at polling shows a fairly consistent Democratic advantage."
Although various surveys report different results, the generic ballot probably now sits in the mid-single digits, in the 5- to 8-point range.

There was a point in mid-December when a series of polls showed Democrats with a big advantage in the generic ballot.

Consecutive polls released by Quinnipiac (+15 points, +12 points), CNN (+18 points), NBC News/Wall Street Journal (+11 points), PPP (+11 points) and Marist (+13 points) showed Democrats with a double-digit lead on the question.

For those using those polls has a starting point, the generic has tightened.

But the evidence is more complicated, and the warnings of the Democrats’ weakening position overblown.

There were 15 polls conducted between early December and early February that showed a double-digit advantage for Democrats-- almost half of them, seven, came from Quinnipiac.

Just as important, they have almost always showed a much larger Democratic advantage than other non-partisan surveys:
Quinnipiac Univ., Nov. 29-Dec. 4, 2017 Democrats +14
Quinnipiac Univ., Dec. 6-11, 2017 Democrats +12
Quinnipiac Univ., Dec. 12-18, 2017 Democrats +15
Quinnipiac Univ., Jan. 5-9, 2018 Democrats +17
Quinnipiac Univ., Jan. 12-16, 2018 Democrats +11
Quinnipiac Univ., Jan. 19-23, 2018 Democrats +13
Quinnipiac Univ., Feb. 2-5, 2018 Democrats +9
The February 2018 number certainly was down a few points, especially from early January. But given margins of error and the impact of news and short-term events on the public, the general direction of Quinnipiac’s polling is clear and consistent.

According to Quinnipiac, Democrats have had and continue to have a considerable advantage in the generic ballot (if the numbers accurately reflect the sentiments of registered voters, of course).

...Let’s look at the generic ballot questions in Economist/YouGov online surveys from late November to early February. Five additional surveys during that same period showed the same trend.
The Economist/YouGov, Nov. 26-28, 2017 Democrats +6
The Economist/YouGov, Dec. 10-12, 2017 Democrats +8
The Economist/YouGov, Dec. 17-19, 2017 Democrats +9
The Economist/YouGov, Jan. 8-9, 2018 Democrats +7
The Economist/YouGov, Jan. 14-16, 2018 Democrats +6
The Economist/YouGov, Jan. 28-30, 2018 Democrats +5
The Economist/YouGov, Feb. 4-6, 2018 Democrats +6
No wild swings. No dramatic movement. Just a consistent mid-single digit/high single digit advantage.

The narrow range doesn’t prove that the numbers are correct, but at the least they raise questions about the “sky is falling” assessment.

Let’s compare the Economist/YouGov surveys to CNN’s, which asked the generic three times between October and January, a slightly earlier period that the other polls I’ve been discussing.

An October 12-15 CNN poll found the Democrats with a 16-point advantage in the generic (54 percent to 38 percent).

In mid-December, the Democrats’ advantage grew to 18 points (56 percent to 38 percent).

And in the most recent CNN poll (January 14-18), the Democratic advantage plunged to 5 points (49 percent to 44 percent).

Again, you can believe the Democrats’ position in the generic has absolutely cratered, or you can be skeptical-- as I am-- that the mid- to high-teens advantages accurately portrayed where the cycle was.

Finally, let me turn to my favorite survey over the years, the one from NBC News/Wall Street Journal.

An October 23-26 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll had the Democrats with a 7-point generic ballot advantage.

In mid-December, that advantages spiked to 11 points. And in mid-January, it was back down to a modest 6 points.

Do those three surveys show movement, or, given that they all are well within the margin of error, is the difference just noise? I don’t think we can know for sure without looking at them in the larger context.

After examining all of the data on RealClearPolitics, including individual surveys from various organizations, I’m inclined to conclude that the Democrats’ advantage in the generic has generally been in the middle to upper single digits except, possibly, for a short-lived spike in mid-December.

I would not be surprised if we see another spike or two (in one direction or the other), but count me as skeptical that the sky is falling for Democrats.

The warnings that Democrats can’t take a wave for granted and don’t have the House locked up in November strike me as wise. It is still early.

But waves usually don’t develop until the midterm year, so the fact that the Democratic advantage isn’t in the double digits now is not especially important.

During 2005, the year before the Democratic midterm wave, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal generic ballot favored the Democrats by from 5 to 11 points.

In January 2006, the survey showed Democrats with a 9-point advantage.

In March, the party’s advantage grew to 13 points, but one month later, it fell to a mere 6 points (45 percent to 39 percent).

I expect that at that point some Democrats and many journalists were issuing dire warnings about the Democrats’ prospects.

As we know, the Democratic generic ballot advantage in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal jumped back up to double-digits in June 2006, and Democrats eventually won the House in November, with the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal general ballot showing a lead in the mid-teens.

...Democratic prospects of taking over the House are not measurably worse than they were a month or two ago. Indeed, there are plenty of reasons to believe that they are better and improving.
There have been several special elections in unlikely red districts since the generic polling caused so many feint-hearted Democrats to start drinking. A couple of weeks ago Mike Revis won a state legislative seat in Missouri in Jefferson County where Trump beat Hillary 65.1% to 29.8%. The state legislative district he won was so red that the Dems didn't even run a candidate in 2016. On February 6 there was a 30 point swing away from the Republicans towards Team Blue. Late last month, Democratic victories in two Wisconsin red district special elections scared the state Republican Party so badly that Scott Walker decided to not call any more special elections! Those are the numbers that mean a lot more than ups and down in generic ballot polling.

Meanwhile, Nate Cohn reported in last night's NY Times that important Republican advantages are fading even if the generic polls are moving in their direction. He wrote that "Slowly but surely, the considerable structural advantages-- like incumbency, geography and gerrymandering-- that give the Republicans a chance to survive a so-called wave election are fading, giving Democrats a clearer path to a House majority in November."
[F]our court rulings have softened or even torn up Republican gerrymanders in four big states: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and most recently Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court struck down the congressional map last month.

The decisions in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia have already cost the Republicans a net of three House seats while generally eroding their position elsewhere in those states, giving Democrats better opportunities in 2018.

It’s too early to have a good idea of how much Republicans might lose in Pennsylvania, but it is reasonable to expect that the new map will cost the party at least one seat and erode its position in several others. Gerrymandering is not the only reason Democrats are at a disadvantage. Republicans also have the advantage of incumbency, which, on average, allows members to run about seven percentage points ahead of the national party.

But Republicans have gradually been losing the advantages of incumbency as well, most obviously because of 34 recent retirements in Republican-held congressional districts.

Over all, the number of G.O.P. retirements in plausibly competitive districts isn’t extraordinarily high. But some of the Republican retirements have been especially damaging: longtime incumbents who have a tradition of running far ahead of the national party and dissuading strong challengers, like New Jersey’s Frank LoBiondo or Pennsylvania’s Charlie Dent. Their retirements could easily be the difference between a non-competitive race and a Democratic victory.

The Republican incumbency advantage has diminished in another way: Democratic recruitment and fund-raising. A strong Democratic recruit-- like a military veteran or an elected official-- can cut into that advantage, especially with strong fund-raising numbers.

...[S]trong Democratic recruiting in Trump Country has kept many traditional battlegrounds on the list, like Illinois’ 12th or Kentucky’s Sixth. The Democrats might have an easier time finding qualified and experienced recruits in white working-class districts in part because Democrats have a track record of winning there, and therefore a deeper bench, even if Mr. Trump won a particular district.

12 point swing in the heart of Vern Buchanan's congressional district as his son's campaign falls to pieces and Margaret Good wins with a stunning 12 point swing towards the Democrats. This means more FAR than any generic polling. Trump is dragging the Republican Party down history's sewer with him. These results came in half an hour before we published. Details on this race, in which outside Republican groups spent millions to save this crucial seat. Expect panic among Florida Republicans now. If they don't see the catastrophe headed their way, November is going to see a lot of GOP congressmembers jumping off roofs!  Congratulations, Margaret Good:

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At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the ultimate question, should the wave materialize as it did in 2006-2008, is: just what exactly will the democraps DO with their windfall?

Actually, the REAL ultimate question is: How will the democraps, with a majority, justify refusing to act on any of their mandate again. Will they re-use the R filibuster crutch as they did in 2009 when they had 60?

And WHEN, not if, the democraps refuse to act on the 2018 mandate, how many more of their voters will abandon them. The number in 2010 was 15 million.

At 1:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have hope for change coming IF it wasn't for the corruption at the top of the DIBO-Whig Party.

They will kiss us while the GOP sneers with disdain. They might buy us a flower while the GOP stomps through our gardens. They might disburse a few crumbs to consume while the GOP eats lavishly in front of us and laughing at our overt desire to share.

But in the final tally, the DINO-Whigs end up doing the exact same things to us, pretending to be sorry about those actions while smiling at their good fortune to do these things to us with impunity.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:29, you just described ACA to a tee. Winners=corporations + those they paid to pass that lege. Losers=everyone who pays out of pocket for care = everyone eventually.


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