The Democrats have long been expected to face an embarrassing loss in this year’s midterm election, but a stunning new poll shows their fortunes have recently been boosted by the news cycle.
Can it be believed?
The New York Times polled more than 849 registered voters between July 5 and 7, and the pollsters recruited live operators to ask the questions in either English or Spanish.
Their findings might surprise you.
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41 percent of registered voters preferred for the Democrats to control Congress, while 40 percent preferred Republicans.
Likely voters gave similar answers. 44 percent preferred Republican control, and 43 percent preferred Democrats.
In other words, the two parties are breaking even in this poll. Neither party commanded a lead outside the poll’s 4.1 percent margin of error.
Still, the Democratic Party appears to have gained ground on the generic ballot amid the recent shootings, the Jan. 6 hearings, and the Supreme Court’s blockbuster decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Democrats have gained about three points on the generic ballot since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on Jun. 24, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll average.
According to the Times poll, only one percent of registered voters chose either crime or education as the most important issue — something that greatly favors Republicans. And only two percent chose illegal immigration.
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By contrast, five percent chose abortion, six percent chose gun control, and a whopping 11 percent chose “the state of democracy.”
According to the poll, the Democrats are set to earn more than 65 of the vote from the respondents most concerned about any of these three issues.
However, the Democratic Party has rapidly lost ground with Hispanic voters, working-class voters and other demographics more concerned about inflation and the economy.
The Times reported, “For the first time in a Times/Siena national survey, Democrats had a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters — a striking indication of the shifting balance of political energy in the Democratic coalition. As recently as the 2016 congressional elections, Democrats won more than 70 percent of nonwhite voters while losing among white college graduates.”
Democrats may be heading for some long-term trouble, perhaps even an eventual loss in working-class parts of New England.
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Plus, the Democrats are dealing with another persistent problem: President Joe Biden’s unpopularity.
According to FiveThrityEight’s poll average, Biden is polling an approval rating of 38.5 percent, as of Tuesday. For reference, former President Donald Trump left office with an approval rating of 38.6 percent, according to the same poll aggregate.
Nate Cohn, the Times pollster, said on a podcast Wednesday that Biden’s approval rating has sunk below Trump’s lowest point.
The Horn editorial team