I hear it all the time these days. The Democratic electoral wave is petering out. The generic ballot shows the Democrats’ advantage is cratering. President Donald Trump’s job approval ratings are up. Voters are giving the president more and more credit for the economy’s strength. Lighten up, political junkies, the election is not until November. Today’s generic may not be tomorrow’s.
Moreover, the Democrats remain well-positioned to benefit from an electoral wave. This column focuses on the generic ballot, as reported and averaged by RealClearPolitics.
Although various surveys report different results, the generic ballot probably now sits in the mid-single digits, in the 5- to 8-point range.
There was a point in mid-December when a series of polls showed Democrats with a big advantage in the generic ballot.
Consecutive polls released by Quinnipiac (+15 points, +12 points), CNN (+18 points), NBC News/Wall Street Journal (+11 points), PPP (+11 points) and Marist (+13 points) showed Democrats with a double-digit lead on the question.
For those using those polls as a starting point, the generic has tightened.
But the evidence is more complicated, and the warnings of the Democrats’ weakening position overblown.
There were 15 polls conducted between early December and early February that showed a double-digit advantage for Democrats — almost half of them, seven, came from Quinnipiac.
Quinnipiac’s generic advantage numbers have been relatively consistent (and within…