Last Rasmussen Poll: GOP House Chances Looking Up

Mae Love
November 7, 2018

It will draw a lot of attention, but national Democrats caution not to read too much into a loss there, because Trump won it by 15 points.

He said that many people are making the midterms all about President Trump, but in these elections - like many midterms - "politics is local".

But if the Democrats wrest control of one or both chambers, they could stymie or even reverse Mr Trump's plans.

Outside Richmond, one-time tea party favorite Rep. Dave Brat faced an unusually strong challenge from Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative motivated to run for office after the GOP vote to gut the Affordable Care Act. "It's all fragile", he said on the call. The Democrats stand little chance of winning the Senate, but with this new breed of candidate they could take control of the house.

But with turnout a key unknown factor and pollsters still unsure about the effect of Trump's maverick style on voters, both parties admit that they may be in for a surprise.

Trump encouraged voters to view the first nationwide election of his presidency as a referendum on his leadership, pointing proudly to the surging economy at recent rallies. Senate Republicans can continue to confirm judges at record rates.

Many people have already voted.

The political realignment, if it solidifies, could reshape USA politics for a generation.

The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in off-year elections.

Voters will "define the future, not just of Texas, but of this country, not just of this generation but every generation that follows", said Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a former punk band member challenging Senator Ted Cruz in traditionally deep-Republican Texas. It was a deliberate strategy to expand the playing field to about 80 districts, stretching beyond college-educated voters in the suburbs into regions where the party has seen its fortunes fade. Republicans hope he can help GOP Rep. Mia Love over the line in her toss-up race in the 4th District.

Given Trump's stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions.

A nationwide poll released Sunday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal details the depth of the demographic shifts.

The party hopes younger voters, suburban moderates and minorities will be drawn to the polls to react against the president's rhetoric.

Groups preferring the GOP in the latest poll include men, people over the age of 40, whites, and minority voters other than the black community.

"Health care is on the ballot", former President Barack Obama told Democratic volunteers in Virginia.

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"They still haven't accepted that they lost the election in 2016", he said. Ballot counting could drag in tight races, leaving some races undecided long after Election Day.

Trump has delivered a very different closing argument, railing against Latin American immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S. border. The president also said soldiers would use lethal force against migrants who throw rocks, before later reversing himself. Trump told the rally crowd in Macon, Georgia.

Turnout is expected to be high.

What will happen if the Democrats win the Senate and the House?

So do these projections mean that Democrats are certain to retake the House? The message to many is simple: Vote like the election is up to you, because it is.

Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away.

"Democratic voters are usually less likely to turn out", Ratcliff said. Sabato and his crew predict Democrats to flip 10 governorships - more than half of which would come in Midwest states.

Democrats face a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they are nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular. This is particularly true of the Senate, where each state has two seats regardless of population.

Trump, without control of Congress, could decide to triangulate.

Democrats are forecast to win the majority of the 435 seats up for grabs in the House - a result that would drain power from the Trump administration. So I'm not allowed to say it.

Liberal activist Tom Steyer spent roughly US$120 million this midterm season.

"In 2010 ... it was more about did you agree or disagree with Obamacare?" he recalled.

"We're not some fringe element of the Democratic Party".

"They could be tempted to say that the public wants an impeachment process based on uncertain claims, but I don't think the public wants that", the professor at University of Toronto said.

Trump has had a busy campaign schedule in the final stretch of the race, with 11 rallies over six days.

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