News and Commentary

Pollsters Have Some Troubling News For Democrats About The ‘Blue Wave’ In The House

As Real Clear Politics shifts yet more Senate seats to the “safe” column for Republicans, multiple pollsters have begun to warn Democrats that even their “blue wave” in the House is losing momentum.

According to RCP’s latest average of polls, Republicans now safely have 49 seats in the Senate, which means the Democrats need to win all 7 of the seats that are considered true “toss ups” to gain the majority in November.

That’s certainly not welcome news to Democrats, who once hoped for a “blue wave” in both chambers. To make matters worse, pollsters have begun sounding the alarm over what once seemed to be the inevitable Democrat takeover of the House.

Among the most influential of the pollsters is Nate Silver, who warned Democrats that even with a generic ballot lead of +7, Democrats could end up failing to take the House.

“With a generic ballot lead of D+7 or so, it’s very possible for polls to about right overall, but for Dems to lose the House because the GOP ekes out wins in lots of the tossup districts. Once you get up to D+9 or so, the dam breaks and GOP would need a systematic polling error,” Silver tweeted Sunday. “We have the D’s generic ballot/popular vote lead trending toward +7.5 or so. So while the topline numbers in our House forecast haven’t changed much, we’ve crossed an important conceptual threshold where the eke-it-one-district-at-a-time scenario is back on the table for the GOP.”

New York Times polling and election reporter Nate Cohn issued a similar warning to Dems Sunday. “The Democrats have put a long list of Republican-leaning districts into play. But it’s not clear whether they actually lead in a lot of them,” Cohn tweeted (h/t Twitchy). “That means there’s still a wide range of possible outcomes in the fight for control of the House.”

Here’s an excerpt of Cohn’s report on the development for the Times:

The size of the Democratic advantage in the fight for control of the House is unclear with a month until the midterm elections, and there are recent signs Republicans might have improved their position, possibly because of the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

A favorable national environment, strong Democratic candidates and a wave of Republican retirements have combined to produce a long list of vulnerable Republican seats. But Republicans remain competitive in the districts that will decide control.

The sheer number of highly competitive districts means a wide range of possible outcomes. Democrats could win in a landslide, or Republicans could run the table and narrowly retain a majority. Both possibilities are evident in data collected from The New York Times Upshot/Siena College surveys in battleground districts.

Will Republicans maintain control of the Senate? It’s certainly a strong possibility. But will they even maintain control of the House? It’s far less likely, but the Democrats’ much-maligned handling of the Kavanaugh hearing may end up being the difference.

Related: Democrats Blame Avenatti For Kavanaugh Confirmation; There’s Just One Big Problem