Into the Storm

September 4, 2018 11:56 am

I wanted to flag your attention to the new ABC/WaPo poll out this morning. No one poll is that significant. But this is part of a trend I noted yesterday. The poll shows Democrats now holding a 14 point edge in the so-called congressional generic ballot. That’s on the high side for recent polls, but not dramatically so. The 538 ‘average’ of all polls for the generic ballot is now just under 11 points. It started diverging in the Democrats’ direction in the first week of August.

The same poll puts President Trump at 36% approval and a whopping 60% disapproval. Those are numbers we haven’t seen with any consistency since a year ago. That is, again, on the high side for disapproval among recent polls but not dramatically so. Trump’s numbers have similarly trended down over the last 2 to 4 weeks. To visualize what seems the a significant shift over this period look at these charts (for Trump, for Congress.)

If you look at the trend lines, Trump’s and the GOP’s numbers saw a modest improvement starting in May and held that improvement until August. What changed? There’s nothing entirely obvious. There’s a series of increasingly volatile stories out of the Russia probe. The biggest thing is that this shift coincides with the trial of Paul Manafort and subsequent convictions. At this point what is driving the shift remains unclear. But there is a pattern that goes back many years of the electorate crystallizing in its opinions coming out of the summer before an election.

Whatever it is, the signs for now look encouraging for Democrats.

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