Democrats will enter 2018 with a substantial lead in next year’s congressional elections, with President Donald Trump and the GOP congressional leadership serving as anchors on Republicans’ poll numbers.
The midterm election is more than 10 months away, but polls this month — including a new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey — show Democrats opening up a double-digit lead on the generic ballot, a test of whether voters nationwide prefer to be represented in Congress by a Democrat or a Republican. Democrats’ advantage in the new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll stands at 10 percentage points, 44 percent to 34 percent — the party’s largest lead of the year.
Democrats and liberals are as motivated as Republicans and conservatives to vote in next year’s elections, the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows, in a reversal from recent midterms, when conservatives were more energized. That trend has been evident during the 2017 off-year and special elections, when turnout spiked in Democratic areas, relative to other non-presidential races.
The new survey caps a stretch of polling low-water marks for Trump and his party. Each of those polls, including the new POLITICO/Morning Consult survey, were conducted before Congress passed the GOP-drafted tax bill, and Republicans hope their numbers improve when regular polling begins again in the new year.
Within the past week, Trump has reached all-time lows in his approval rating from polling aggregators. The new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows Trump’s approval rating slightly higher than the mid-to-high-30s national polling average: 41 percent, though that is only 2 points better than his lowest approval rating this year.
But Democrats’ 10-point lead on the generic ballot is their largest for the year. The party has a 15-point lead among female voters, the poll shows, and a 3-point edge among male voters. White voters are split — 39 percent for Democrats and 38 percent for Republicans — but Democrats have a 59-point lead among African-American voters and a 27-point lead among Hispanics.