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Does New WaPo Poll Spell Doom for Democrats?

Jared Boyles

Posted on July 19, 2017 11:27

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A poll published by the Washington Post on July 19, 2017 indicates those who strongly support President Trump are more prepared to show up for the 2018 midterms than vice-versa. Should Democrats be worried?

Early Wednesday, the Washington Post published the results of a survey directed at public sentiment towards the 2018 midterm elections. In particular, the poll aimed to understand how motivated voters were to turn out, and what precisely they'd be voting for come 2018.

The findings were a mixed-bag of good and bad indicators for Democrats, which painted a rather convoluted picture of the midterms and perhaps a less than compelling one than they were hoping for. One result in particular stood out above the rest: 72% of Trump supporters stated they'd be "absolutely certain" to vote in the midterms, versus only 57% of Democrats:

After suffering recent defeats in House special elections, in particular in the Georgia 6th District (the most expensive House race in U.S. history), Democrats may be inclined to perceive this bellwether as further proof that Trump's core is not going away or willing to negotiate.

In particularly obstinate fashion, recent polls conducted by Public Policy Polling go so far as to show that some 32% of Trump voters don't even believe his son met with Russian representatives- a fact which Donald Trump, Jr. himself made clear via Twitter last week. 

Now, it's easy to look at that 72% figure and feel worried that Trump's dedicated core might allow Trump to maintain the House moving through 2020 and further solidify the President's agenda, but further analysis lends credence to thinking otherwise.

To begin with the mildly confusing results, the Washington Post asked all respondents quite simply: When you vote, will it be in favor of, in opposition to, or totally unrelated to Trump? Results came in at 20%, 24% and 51% respectively. While the GOP has shown no indication it's willing to stand up to Trump's often abrasive nature, if Republican voters disenfranchised with the administration use 2018 to evoke anti-Trump sentiment and return the GOP to its more traditional party platforms, this could open the door for a return to, at the very least, more business-as-usual in the legislature. While that's less than comforting for Democrats, the remainder of the data paints a somewhat warmer picture:

As younger voters come of age and those who didn't vote in '14 reap the fallout of their stagnation, it appears more public sentiment is brewing that 2018 will be a time of action at the polls. This is good news for a liberal wing that will thrive off younger voters and their heightened action in the wake of the 2016 elections.

Finally, it's necessary to remember that Trump's base is far smaller than the voting population as a whole. That 72% figure shows his base is staunch- but it is not proof positive that, for a President who lost the popular vote by some 2.9 million votes, he has enough voters nationwide to carry his agenda through 2020.

Jared Boyles

Posted on July 19, 2017 11:27

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