According to a new poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal, the Democratic Party has the "largest advantage in congressional preference in nine years," with an 11 point lead ahead of Republicans (50% to 39%).
The last two times the Democratic Party had such large advantages, they took the House and Senate (2006), and won the presidential election (2008). In 2010, when Republicans won back control of the House, the Democrats were in the negative (-5), and in 2014, when Republicans took back the Senate, Democrats enjoyed only a one point advantage.
What does this mean for 2018? While accurately forecasting an election more than ten months away is nearly impossible, it doesn’t look good for Republicans. Moreover, with the recent defeat of Ed Gillespie in Virginia (Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama being an outlier for numerous reasons), we could be seeing the beginning of a backlash.
Then there’s the enthusiasm gap.
The NBC/WSJ poll shows "59 percent of Democratic voters saying they have a high level of interest in next year’s elections (registering either a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), versus 49 percent of Republican voters saying the same thing."
The pendulum swings, and conventional wisdom tells us that an unpopular president can push the pendulum rather forcefully toward the opposition party, especially when they are disliked by the mainstream press. In 2006, when the Democrats took both chambers, President Bush’s approval averaged 38.5%. In 2010, when the Republicans swamped the Democrats, President Obama’s approval averaged 46.9%
Currently, President Trump’s approval rating stands at 37.5% according to RealClearPolitics.