In the months leading up to the 2018 election– with a brief reprieve in August– Democrats maintained a constant six to eight point lead in the RCP average of the general congressional ballot. It foreshadowed a blue wave in November. Many on the right ignored it. Democrats picked up 41 seats in the House of Representatives and control of the chamber. While Republicans managed to pick up two Senate seats, it was largely because of a favorable map– they lost 22 of 33 races.
Republicans have no chance of taking back the House. Almost no one is even pretending they can– only the most dedicated Trumpist delude themselves into thinking they can or will. The question– at least when it comes to federal elections– is can they maintain control of the Senate and White House? With the election less than four months away, a blue tsunami looks more and more plausible.
What do I mean by a blue tsunami? Former Vice President Joe Biden beats President Donald Trump, Democrats take an outright majority in the Senate (ie 51 or more democratic Senators), AND expand their House majority. All three of these scenarios are plausible. Democrats have an 11 point lead in the RCP average of the general congressional ballot and a favorable Senate map. Biden also leads Trump by 8.7 points in the RCP average and Trump’s approval is 14.8 points under water. Biden also leads Trump in the RCP average of polls in Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. Trump only leads in Georgia, Iowa, and Texas. It’s tied in Ohio. That suggests a 333 to 204 bloodbath in the electoral college. Even less conventional measures– like the number of leaked internal polls— paint a bleak picture for Republicans.
While Senate election polls are still fairly sparse, they haven’t been pretty for Republicans. The ones we do have consistently show Susan Collins down in Maine, Martha McSally down big in Arizona, Thom Tillis down in North Carolina, Cory Gardner being blown out in Colorado, Steve Daines in a fight for Montana and Jodi Ernst in a surprising fight in Iowa. Both Georgia races also look to be extremely close. John James was seen as a possible pickup in Michigan but his campaign looks dead in the water. Unseating Doug Jones looks like the only Republican pickup on the table while they are facing losing multiple seats.
To be clear, I’m not saying a blue tsunami will happen. I am saying it is a clear and real possibility. Personally, I think the hurdle for taking outright control of the Senate is a little too high– it would require flipping seven Republican seats. But, if it did happen, it would be a historic loss for the Republican party. In four years, they would have gone from securing united government to losing all control. A collapse this quickly is unheard of in modern American politics. It took Democrats eight years to achieve the same feat under President Barack Obama.
Exit quote: According to Amy Walter at the Cook Political Report: “As one strategist who has been doing extensive focus group work with suburban voters tells us, “they are mostly done with Trump.” Sounds like they are tired of Trump. Who would have guessed?
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