New polling data from Monmouth University shows Democrats seven percent ahead of Republicans when respondents were asked about which party they’d rather see control Congress after the upcoming midterm elections.
The Democratic lead includes those who picked the Democratic Party when initially asked and those from the originally non-committal group who went with the Democrats when asked a follow-up question. Overall, Democrats had 50 percent of the support, while Republicans had 43 percent. These numbers are exactly reversed from the results in Monmouth University polling from back in January. More recently (in June), both sides were tied in these Monmouth numbers. Counting just those who picked the Democrats or Republicans when initially asked leaves an apparently substantial portion without any initial preference, although Democrats still lead, with 38 percent of the support compared to 34 percent for Republicans. A full 12 percent of the overall total had no initial choice but leaned towards the Dems, and it was 9 percent of the overall total making a similar lean to the GOP.
Democrats are seeing relatively positive poll numbers in key races in states including Pennsylvania and Georgia. A model from the elections data and analysis site FiveThirtyEight that relies only on polling data gives Democrats a 74-in-100 chance of holding the Senate through the midterm elections as of this Wednesday afternoon. (A version of the model with more elements factored into the calculations gives the Dems a 57-in-100 chance.) Democratic chances of holding control of the House are generally seen as less positive, although there’s obviously no way of telling exactly what’ll happen until it does. The Senate field has a new confirmed addition after Trump endorsement-recipient Blake Masters won the Arizona GOP primary for Senate on Tuesday. Generally speaking, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is the favorite to win in this year’s Arizona Senate contest based on polling and other factors, although the race is still among the closer on the ballot this year. It’s certainly much closer than Senate races in California and Missouri.
When asked in the new Monmouth polling to name a single issue from a list of choices as their most highly prioritized in the midterms, Democratic responses were relatively split, suggesting the broad ground on which Democratic candidates can campaign. A full 24 percent selected abortion, while 20 percent said climate change, 19 percent went with gun control, and 18 percent picked health care. Just this week, a bill was introduced in the Senate that would put protections for abortion originally provided by Roe v. Wade into federal law. It seems relatively clear an expanded Democratic majority — to the point of overcoming the filibuster — could restore national abortion protections. Concurrently, Republican majorities in both chambers would no doubt try and pass destructive measures like new federal restrictions on abortion.