This is good news for Democrats, but...
Voters say they prefer Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives over Republicans by the widest margin in over a decade, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll....
... 51 percent ... of registered voters say that if the election were held today, they would vote for or lean toward the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, while 40 percent say they would choose the Republican.
That’s the biggest spread in a Post-ABC survey since October 2006, just weeks before a midterm in which Democrats won back control of the House and Senate amid deep dissatisfaction with then-President George W. Bush and the Iraq War.
... there's also not-so-good news for Democrats in the same poll:
A Democratic advantage in preference for the 2018 midterm elections fades to insignificance among the most likely voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll....
In a hypothetical national ballot, Democratic congressional candidates hold a robust 11-point lead over their GOP counterparts, 51-40 percent, among registered voters overall. But winnow down to those who say they voted in the last midterms and are certain to do so again and the contest snaps essentially to a dead heat, 48-46 percent.
In fact, Republicans were trailing Democrats in Post/ABC poll just before the last two midterms, even though the GOP went on to win both midterms in blowouts.
On the eve of the 2014 and 2010 midterms, both banner elections for the GOP, Post-ABC surveys found Republicans trailed Democrats by three and five percentage points among registered voters, respectively. Those margins flipped in Republicans’ favor among the smaller population of likely voters who were more motivated to turn out.
Republicans routinely win far more House seats than their overall vote totals would suggest they should -- Democrats won 50.59% of the popular House vote in 2012, but won only 46.21% of House seats, and though Republicans had a popular vote plurality in 2016 House races (49.9% to the Democrats' 47.3%), they won a far greater share of seats (55.2% to the Democrats' 44.8%). So it'll take a large overall Democratic advantage for the Democrats to win back the House.
But that won't happen unless Democrats turn out less-likely voters. The voters seem to be there -- they're just not voting in non-presidential contests.
Better to turn Democrats out than to hunt for the elusive, possibly mythical swing voter. Take a look at the latest Monmouth University poll of tomorrow's Virginia gubernatorial race. The poll shows Democrat Ralph Northam up by 2 -- fairly good news, assuming Democrats turn out -- and it shows that the search for crossover voters can be an exercise in futility:
"Early in this race, it appeared that both candidates were shooting for crossover appeal, with Northam doing better than expected in Republican areas and Gillespie performing respectively well in Democratic-leaning counties. The electorate has since reverted to partisan norms as the campaign has taken a decidedly nasty turn," said Murray [Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute].
It's the Hillary Clinton campaign all over again: When Democrats reach out to moderate Republicans, Republicans summon up their most awful stereotypes of the Democrat, either personal (Crooked Hillary) or ideological (Northam wants MS-13 gangs to kill you in your beds!!1!1). Result: wavering Republicans come home, and Democrats have wasted time on voters they can't reach.
Register more Democrats. Motivate more Democrats. Turn more Democrats out.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog