Could it be Democrats who fail the midterms?
Amid surging economic growth, 4.1 percent inflation-adjusted in the second quarter, and nearly 3.9 million more Americans have found jobs since President Donald Trump took office, House and Senate Democrats could be looking at an uphill battle to take back Congress in November.
Losing yet another special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District cannot be helping matters, as it appears Trump might have coattails, with his backed candidate, State Sen. Troy Balderson prevailing narrowly against Danny O’Connor.
President Trump claimed credit in a tweet, saying, “When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good. After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting. He will win BIG in Nov.”
To be fair, the wins Republicans have been getting in special elections this cycle have been very narrow. The race has not been certified yet, with several thousand absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted, and just a 1,754 vote margin.
In Kansas, Georgia, Montana and South Carolina, similar patterns have prevailed, as Fox News’ Chad Pergram observed, “Democrats came close to winning them all – but didn’t. Democrats finally won a special election on GOP turf in late March. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., emerged victorious – but barely. In other words, Democrats are making things close lots of places that shouldn’t be close.”
Pergram added, “That bodes well in the midterms as Democrats need to flip 23 seats to claim control of the House. But Democrats cannot continue to repeatedly make races close and lose. That’s certainly not a recipe for victory in the House.”
Democrats have consistently led the generic Congressional ballot all year long – in fact, Republicans have not led a single poll in 2018 – leading some to speculate that we could be witnessing a “blue wave.”
On the other hand, the past several polls have had Democrats’ lead narrowing. The July 26 through Aug. 2 poll by IBD/TIPP had the race tied 45 percent to 45 percent. In late June, the same poll had Democrats up by 8 points, 48 percent to 40 percent.
The latest set of polls were taken as the big GDP number came out, on July 27.
Another good jobs report came out on Aug. 3.
So, while the #NeverTrump liberal media and Democrats have been obsessed with the phony Russia, Russia, Russia story, it seems the president and his party are benefitting from good economic news brought on by their policies to cut taxes, reduce regulations and get better trade deals.
Which the GOP will need a good record to run on if they hope to do well in November. They cannot afford to get comfortable.
The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002. In the Senate, the White House incumbent party tends to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats. The exceptions where seats were either gained or none lost: 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998 and 2002.
The odds are not great, but could this be the year Trump breaks the midterm jinx? As usual, stay tuned.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.