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2018 Midterms

DATA: Early Voting Defies the “Blue Wave”

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Most of the indicators that are available indicate that not only will there be no blue wave, but that there could be a red “mini-wave” in the House that could see the GOP actually gain seats. Realize, this will be tough given that there are over 40 seats open from Republican resignations and/or retirements as many of these representatives are committee chairmen and do not want to return to the bench after being the coach. De facto, then, the GOP has lost the advantage of incumbency in 40 seats right off the bat.

Then you have people who resigned amidst scandal, such as Trent Franks Blake Farnthold, or Chris Collins who has “suspended” his reelection campaign.

Under normal circumstances, this would indeed mark a storm warning for the Republicans. But since Trump, nothing is normal.

So let’s do an “around the horn” of national and state updates.

  1. Trump approval

Trending: WATCH: Keith Ellison Runs Away From Loomer and Crowd of Domestic Abuse Survivors

*Gallup (Adults) 42%

Monmouth RV 43%

Rasmussen LV 48%

Meaning for election purposes Trump is very close to 50.

2. Florida

The latest FL poll shows Rick Scott increasing his lead over Nelson to 4. Trump is at 52% in the state, DeSantis very strong.

Florida Republicans have added 19,000 to their rolls since November 2016. Democrats? Well, they have lost 65,000 off their rolls for a net shift of 84,000 to Rs (!).

Two key county developments there. In Seminole, which went for Trump at 1.5%, has Rs up 14 in early voting, and in Miami-Dade, Republicans are up 2,900 in early voting there. Keep in mind that traditionally Democrats own early voting. Now, there is a possibility (which we have seen Democrats suffer from in the past) that Republicans are cannibalizing their election day voters. Or, it could simply be more enthusiasm from Republicans. Today’s generic ballot is virtually tied, suggesting that any “enthusiasm gap” that ever existed for Democrats is gone.

Senate: Scott (a Trumper) should win this for a net GOP pickup. DeSantis should easily win the governorship.

3.  Arizona

Early voting in Arizona shows an increase of more than 80,000 over the early vote in presidential year 2016. Republicans lead the early voting by 12, and have a 150,000 registration edge. There are roughly 1.1 million independents in Arizona, meaning that in a statewide election, the Democrat will have to draw close to 12% more than the GOP candidate among indies just to be even. Who thinks that will happen? The Arizona primary is next Tuesday. My guess is that Kelli Ward cannot draw over enough of “Spoiler Joe’s” support to beat Martha (McCain II) McSally. If all the Joe/Ward voters backed Ward, it would be a virtual tie. While I’ll be voting for Ward, I don’t think she can overcome the $1 million in primary ads (gee, I wonder where that money came from?). Supposedly the governor’s race is close, but Doug Ducey will hang on.

Until the primary is over, it is meaningless to cite polls with Kristen Sinema vs. an unnamed GOP candidate. This will be close, but I think the GOP registration edge will show up in the general.

4. Wisconsin

I had this senate seat as a loss, but Leah Vukmir is putting up a fight. A Marquette University poll today, however, finds Vukmir in a dead heat (trailing 2 points among likely voters 49-47, but trails by 8 among registered). Morning Consult shows that 34% say Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat, deserves reelection while 47% say time for a new person. Not at all good for an incumbent. Governor Scott Walker’s job performance d among likely voters, he has a 2 point edge, 46-44. Scott Walker has proven himself to be an exceptional campaigner, and the GOP ground game in WI is excellent.

Senate: Tossup.

5. Missouri

Claire McCaskill is looking at a loss at this point. People’s Pundit Daily has Josh Hawley up 7, and they are dead on. This is a net pickup.

Senate: Josh Hawley (a Trumper) wins.

6. Pennsylvania

Out of nowhere, Lou Barletta has surged into a dead heat (47-45) with incumbent Democrat Bob Casey. This is another seat I thought was gone.

7. Wyoming

In the primary, 87% chose a Repubublican ballot, and GOP turnout was up 10%, Democrat turnout down 13%.

8. Minnesota

The scandal surrounding former Senator Al Franken and the recent allegations against Congressman Keith Ellison, who is running for state Attorney General, have dampened Democrat hopes somewhat, although Democrats had a strong primary in terms of turnout over a week ago. Still, state senator Karen Housely, who is taking on Franken’s replacement, Tina Smith, and is down only 4. Right now, Smith is the likely winner, but this race is closing.

Meanwhile, some in Minnesota remain convinced that at least three U.S. House seats held by Democrats are in jeopardy.

As of now, I see the MN senate seat a Democrat hold, but it’s moving into the tossup range.

9. New Jersey

In normal times we wouldn’t even be discussing this, but the corruption of Bob Menendez has thrown the senate race into a tizzy. Republican Bob Hugin is within 2 of Menendez in the latest Gravis poll there.

Menendez will likely hold, but I expect this to continue to tighten. If it tightens much more, I would reconsider.

10. In Ohio, Troy Balderson continues to increase his lead as they count more votes. He’s now up over 300 additional votes since the provisional counting began.

11. Connecticut likewise saw increased GOP turnout: 143,000, up from 125,000 in 2010 and 79,000 in 2014, both prior Governor election years.

12. In New Hampshire, incumbent R governor Sununu is polling well ahead of Democrat competitors: 48%-33 over Marchand and 48%-32 over Kelly.

13. Various house seats: NV 04 and NJ 06 are suddenly looking quite competitive and could easily be flips. I continued to hear good things about Mike Coffman in Colorado, so he’s probably a hold. Debbie Lesko in AZ certainly a hold, up 9 in AZ8.

Overall, though, the House is still way too close to call. The trends in Florida and Texas in primary voting suggest that very few of those Republicans listed as “in danger” by Cook or anyone else are, in fact, in danger. We are rapidly coming down to about 25 seats—not the ridiculous “40-50” seats that the fake news media keeps touting—as truly being in doubt. Many of those are in California, especially CD 48 and 49, though one district (39) is a potential flip and is currently a dead heat.

14. Overall, Per @AndrewClark the GOP’s predictive tools have been incredibly accurate:

RNC predicted 54.3% turnout; actual was 54.2%.
RNC predicted R wins with 49.4%; actual was 49.9%.
RNC predicted D wins 43.4%; actual was 43.8%

And the whole “voter enthusiasm” thing is kaput: Politico says 75% of Rs “very motivated to vote” vs 73% of Ds, while CNN has it 68% Rs and 70% Ds.

The action continues to be in the House, where fewer than 30 races will determine the fate of the country, but at every other level the indicators are that the Republicans will have a major Red Wave, especially in the Senate.

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