If you’ve been following the political chatter for the last month or so, one common theme being pushed by the press and data nerd Twitter is the idea of a Democrat “comeback” before the mid-terms.
Historically, every headwind is against Joe Biden and his party, but as the story goes, things will be different this time. After all, the Democrats passed the “Inflation Reduction Act” that doesn’t actually reduce inflation, and Democrats have taken some leads on the generic ballot since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
My response has been different, though. The generic ballot has often understated Republican support in environments that don’t favor Democrats (i.e. not 2018). On this day during the 2014 cycle, Democrats led by 1.4 percent. The final result was Republicans by 5.7 percent. On this day in 2016, Democrats led by 5 points on the generic ballot. On election day, Republicans won by 1.1 percent and kept control in Congress Even in 2020, the generic ballot overstated Democrat support by 3.7 percent, which is why Republicans actually gained a lot of ground in the House.
As I’ve written previously, the point is simple: Summer polling is notoriously bad and typically favors Democrats (at least post-2012). Those using it to make bold proclamations that Republicans have blown the election before it has even happened are deluding themselves.
Further, the closer we get to September, the more you can expect the GOP to start gaining ground again because those that are going to break typically break to the out party. Sure enough, the latest NBC News poll is out, and it’s everything the election bros on Twitter told us wasn’t supposed to be happening.
New NBC News poll (registered voters)
Biden – Job performance
==>May (previous NBC poll): 42-54%
Highest level of interest in midterms:
==> May: GOP 69%, Dem 61%
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) August 21, 2022
The GOP has actually gained on the generic ballot in this poll compared to before the Dobbs decision came down. That’s completely counter to the media narrative that abortion is going to be the deciding factor in this election. Further, Biden’s job approval remains completely stagnant, with the president actually dropping to 55 percent disapproval while his approval remains at an abysmal 42 percent.
Things don’t get better for the Democrats when you dive into the issue-level polling. Here’s what respondents think of the supposedly game-changing “Inflation Reduction Act.”
NBC POLL: 71% of Americans believe the “Inflation Reduction Act” will either make things worse or not make a difference at all pic.twitter.com/JkwEULzcMM
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) August 21, 2022
This poll follows on the heels of another good poll for the GOP showing Republican senate candidate Adam Laxalt leading his Democrat opponent in Nevada. It’s also worth noting that the NBC News poll is not an outlier. The two prior generic ballot polls also gave Republicans high marks, each showing a 5-point lead for the GOP.
Lastly, it should be mentioned that we haven’t even seen the major pollsters switch to likely voter screens yet. Because enthusiasm is high for Republicans, as evidenced by comparisons of primary turnout, likely voter screens should further shift these results toward the GOP, and they have historically done so.
In other words, as I’ve been saying to the doomsayers, you do not panic in August. The closer we get to Halloween, the more things will shake out, and there are zero reasons to believe Democrats are going to defy history with a president whose aggregate approval is at 40 percent.
Story cited here.
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