Midterm meltdown? New poll puts GOP *up* three in generic ballot

Consider the source on this, but also consider that it’s not far off from other polling on next year’s midterms. The NRCC’s battleground poll shows Republicans now leading on the generic congressional ballot, a metric in which they normally trail even while winning significant seats. In fact, the gap in this poll mirrors the same gap found earlier this month in Quinnipiac’s national poll:

According to a new poll released Tuesday by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the GOP has a 43 percent to 40 percent lead over Democrats with registered voters in the generic ballot across 85 potential battleground districts. Those results mark an improvement from the same poll conducted in February, April and July that had Democrats at 44 percent with voters.

The boost for the GOP in the Republican poll appears to be fueled in part by a drop in President Biden’s approval rating. The presidential approval rating is underwater, with 45 percent of voters approving of the job Biden is doing compared with 51 percent who disapprove. The opposite was true in July, when 51 percent of voters approved of Biden’s performance compared with 45 percent who disapproved.

Only 39 percent of independents approve of Biden’s job performance, and Republicans have a 35-27 lead among independents in the 85 districts, according to the poll.

Other key demographics are also moving toward Republicans in the poll, with white college-educated voters favoring Republicans by a 44-41 margin and Hispanics split even between the two parties.

Of course Republicans would want their pollsters to come up with these numbers, and any party-driven poll should be taken with a major grain of salt. However, Dem-leaning Quinnipiac found Republicans up 47/44 just three weeks ago, reversing the previous 43/47 from three weeks earlier. The demos on that question look pretty similar to what NRCC found in battleground states, especially among independents (48/34).

Their follow-up on the same survey on Joe Biden’s performance looked similarly ugly for Democrats:

  • Overall: 38/53
  • Independents: 32/60
  • Hispanics: 42/51
  • Women: 42/48

Since this Q-poll, two pollsters have put Democrats up outside the margin of error on the generic ballot: Politico/Morning Consult (45/40) and Economist/YouGov (44/38). Bear in mind, though, that these are national polls rather than battlegrounds, which is the target of the NRCC’s pollster here.

Over on the other side of the Capitol, the NRSC has some cheery poll data too. Again consider the source, but the Washington Post’s James Hohmann is taking it seriously:

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been testing dozens of potential messages that might claw back suburban voters who drifted toward Democrats during Donald Trump’s presidency, and lines of attack related to education show as much potential for the midterms as inflation, immigration and crime.

I obtained a 45-slide PowerPoint recently presented to Republican senators that summarizes findings from a previously unreported internal poll of 1,200 likely voters in 2022 suburban battlegrounds. Notable results included:

  • Seventy-eight percent agreed that “many public-school systems in America are failing and children are falling behind the rest of the world.”
  • Sixty-five percent agreed that “allowing biological males to compete against women in high school and college sports is hugely unfair and will erase many of the gains women have made in athletics over the last 50 years.”
  • Fifty-eight percent agreed that “critical race theory should not be taught in schools” because “children should not be told they are inherently racist simply because of the color of their skin.”

Republican Glenn Youngkin has been road-testing all three arguments in the Virginia governor’s race. Although Joe Biden carried the commonwealth by 10 points last year — and is scheduled to campaign Tuesday with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe — the latest poll, from Monmouth University, shows a tie. That survey found that schooling has surpassed covid to become the second-most-important issue, behind the economy. And after previously trailing, Youngkin has edged McAuliffe as being more trusted to handle education.

Democrats’ hard turn to the Left has cost them dearly, as has Joe Biden’s confidence-crisis cascade. Keep an eye on both as we turn the corner into the midterm cycle next year, but next week’s election in Virginia might give us a real look at just how much Democrats have handicapped themselves in a cycle that will already be a referendum on Biden’s disgraceful leadership.