Democrats' own internal poll shows them losing on the generic ballot to Republicans

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Team Blue can’t hide the decline even in their own polling.

Although, laughably, they insist they’ve gained ground on Republicans over the past few months. More on that in a second.


The two parties agree on almost nothing these days but they agree that American voters are more inclined to elect Republicans to Congress than Democrats at the moment.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s internal polling this month showed that Republicans in battleground districts had improved by seven percentage points since the beginning of the year. So-called generic Republicans began the year three points behind Democrats; now they are ahead by four points.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s generic ballot testing this month also shows Democrats trailing — albeit by two points. Party officials said that actually was an improvement from some other recent months. The D.C.C.C. declined to say what its polling showed at the start of the year…

Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, who is chairman of the House Republican campaign arm, said in an interview that the N.R.C.C.’s private polling at the start of the year measured Biden’s approval rating as 10 percentage points higher than his disapproval rating. Now, Emmer said, it’s the reverse: Biden’s disapproval is 10 points higher.

The DCCC would have us believe that their party trailed Republicans by *six* points on the generic ballot in July and have since clawed four of those points back. Fun fact: Joe Biden was rocking a 52/43 job approval in mid-July. There’d been no major summer wave of COVID. Inflation had yet to strike real fear in the hearts of Americans. The Afghan government was still in charge in Kabul and an orderly U.S. withdrawal was on track. The RCP average of generic ballot polling at the time had Dems up by more than five points in the first half of the month:


Since then, Afghanistan has gone sideways, the Delta variant ravaged the American southeast, and the country endured the worst month of inflation in 30 years. And the DCCC would have us believe that they’ve gained ground on Republicans over that period.

It’s a bummer for Glenn Youngkin that the Virginia election wasn’t held in July, I guess. Maybe he would have won by 10 points instead of two.

If you want a sense of how bad it actually looks out there for Democrats, consult this new poll by Republican groups about four longtime blue-leaning districts in Colorado, Indiana, Oregon, and Texas. One of those districts hasn’t elected a Republican in nearly a century. And yet:

Polling commissioned by GOP groups on four newly redistricted, Democratic-leaning House seats — Colorado’s 8th District, Indiana’s 1st District, Oregon’s 5th District and Texas’ 28th District — found President Joe Biden’s approval ratings underwater in areas he won by an average of 7 points in 2020. The generic ballot in those combined districts, pitting an unnamed Democratic candidate against an unnamed Republican candidate, was tied at 39 percent among registered voters.

Across all four districts, 27 percent said the country was on the right track, while 67 percent said it was on the wrong track.

If it’s 39/39 in Biden +7 districts, you can guess what it’s like in districts where Dems barely held on last fall. The Times tried to figure out how far to the right nationally voters have truly swung over the past few months. The results in Virginia and New Jersey suggest a consistent swing of 12 points towards the Republicans, a terrifying prospect for Dems in the midterms, although it could be as little as three points per some polling. But if Biden’s decline in approval in the swing districts mentioned above is any indication, it’s probably seven points at least — even in places otherwise inclined to vote blue. Hoo boy.


It’s possible that Build Back Better will prove phenomenally popular among the public and rescue the Democrats next fall. But I wouldn’t bet on it. New national polling from Echelon Insights:

In the four swing districts polled by Republican groups, support for Build Back Better stood at 41/52. Whether that’s because progressives in those districts view the bill as too small or other voters view it as too large is unclear — possibly both — but Democrats obviously have a problem. Their $1.85 trillion life preserver might not be buoyant.

One more result from Echelon:

The only bright spot for Democrats in their survey is that Biden still polls evenly with Trump at 45 apiece. That’s down sharply from April, when he led Trump by 10, but it’s a testament to Trump’s weakness as a candidate that things could go sideways for Dems on basically every front and he’s still pulling no more than 45 percent against a president struggling with the worst inflation crisis in decades. If Republicans nominate DeSantis in 2024, I think they win going away. If they nominate Trump, coin flip.


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David Strom 5:30 PM | March 04, 2024