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Axios polls: Senate Dems in Danger ⚠️

Michael Ahrens - March 8, 2018

Several Senate Dems would lose their jobs if the elections were held today. Axios reports

 

 Why it matters: Democrats are defending 10 Senate seats in states that President Trump won in 2016. In six of those states, Trump's approval is higher than 50% (compared to 43% nationally). These numbers underscore how hard it will be for Democrats to pick up the two seats needed to win the majority…

The most vulnerable senators are Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana and Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Each of their approval ratings is either under 50% or just above it, while Trump's is well above that in all three states.

In Florida, new polling shows Republican Gov. Rick Scott besting incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, 42 to 35 percent.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s favorability is under water – 37 to 39 percent – according to a new Marquette poll.

And on the House front, Columbia University’s Musa Al-Gharbi explains why Tuesday’s results were bad news for Democrats’ 2018 prospects.

About That Blue Wave…
The New York Times
Musa Al-Gharbi, Op-Ed
March 7, 2018

The prevailing wisdom suggests that there will be a Democratic wave election in 2018. In a manner that suggests that little was learned from the 2016 primary or general elections, pundits and analysts seem so committed to this narrative that they promote it even when the data point in the other direction.

The primaries in Texas on Tuesday are a good case in point. …

Democrats had near-record turnout, with more than one million voters over all taking part in their primaries. Sounds impressive, right? But Republicans had actual record-breaking turnout, exceeding their previous midterm high-water mark, which was set in 2010. All told, with more than 1.5 million votes cast, Republicans had nearly 50 percent more voters take part in their primary than the Democrats in theirs.

There does not seem to be an enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans. If the Democrats’ numbers seem impressive in 2018, this is because their previous benchmarks in the state have been relatively low.

As for the specific seats Democrats hope to capture in November, it appears that Republicans would retain control if the races were decided on the basis of Tuesday’s primary vote. Democrats have a lot of work to do to catch up.

But just as important, if not more so, there were marked differences between the parties in terms of the tone of their primaries.

On the Democratic side, there was bitter internal strife, dating back to the previous election cycle, between the “establishment” Democrats and the populist “Berniecrats.” Many of the latter are not committed partisans: While they are highly motivated to support populists, many refuse to lend their support to more conventional Democratic candidates. As we saw in 2016, many former Sanders supporters sat out the general election, voted for a third-party candidate or voted for Donald Trump.

Democrats should be concerned about their ability to mobilize populists in the races “establishment” figures won. So the party could find itself facing another enthusiasm deficit for many key races, even with Mr. Trump in the White House.

On the Republican side, there was clear unity behind the president and his party. The races were mostly about which candidate was most supportive of President Trump. As a result, it seems likely that Republican voters will support whoever is on their ticket in the general election.

We can count on Republican primary voters to turn out in November as well. Republicans reliably vote in midterms, and again it is important to note that primary patterns suggest that enthusiasm is particularly high in the Republican base this year, too.

In other words, not only can the blue wave narrative distract us from what is happening on the ground, it can also help drive Republican enthusiasm and undermine Democratic turnout — not quite the double whammy Democratic strategists are looking for.

Musa al-Gharbi is a fellow in sociology at Columbia University.

To read more, click here.


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