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While Trump gloats, Democrats grab gargantuan lead in 2018 elections

In a country that remains remarkably polarized, a growing consensus is emerging heading into 2018: Voters want Democrats to control Congress next year. In fact, Democrats have opened up a gigantic 18-point lead on that front, 11 months before the midterm elections take place. All of this is unfolding while Donald Trump and the GOP […]

By Eric Boehlert - December 20, 2017
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In a country that remains remarkably polarized, a growing consensus is emerging heading into 2018: Voters want Democrats to control Congress next year. In fact, Democrats have opened up a gigantic 18-point lead on that front, 11 months before the midterm elections take place.

All of this is unfolding while Donald Trump and the GOP take a victory lap after passing a tax bill that stands as one of the least popular pieces of legislation in the last three decades. (Who doesn’t like a tax cut?)

After the backslapping is over, 2018 midterm elections will loom large. Lots of forecasters have been predicting a “wave” election cycle next year, with the GOP saddled by a historically unpopular, and disliked, first-year president. And yes, the party’s chances actually seemed to have dimmed with the passage of the GOP’s widely despised tax scheme.

Public Policy Polling recently found that “by a 23 point margin voters say they’re less likely to vote for a member of Congress next year who supports it.”

Anytime one party holds an 8, 10, or 12-point lead over another party when asked in generic polling whether people plan on voting Democratic or Republican in the next contest, forecasters take note and start talking about looming lopsided wins.

According to CNN’s latest polling, Democrats now hold a nearly 20-point lead, the largest advantage prior to a midterm election cycle in more than two decades of CNN polling on the topic.

The massive gap even has polling experts amazed.

The last time Democrats enjoyed a double-digit advantage was just ahead of the 2008 election, when the party picked up eight Senate seats and 21 House seats.

Heading into 2018, Democrats need to pick up 24 seats in the House and just two seats in the Senate to gain control of each chamber. Note that 23 Republicans currently occupy congressional seats carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, which suggests those Republicans will be vulnerable next year.

Overall, 49 percent of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for Congress next year, according to CNN. That’s compared to 32 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who say the same.

That enthusiasm gap isn’t hypothetical, we’ve already seen the proof this year. Note that Democratic turnout in Virginia for the commonwealth’s off-year election cycle was up in key regions that Hillary Clinton won the previous year.

Meanwhile, “Exit polls revealed an unmistakable anti-Trump backlash,” Politico reported following GOP losses in Virginia last month.

When Republicans are done savoring the passage of their historically unpopular tax bill, they can address the historic hole they find themselves in heading into 2018.


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