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Democrats have opened up a 12-point lead in voter preference for which party controls Congress, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. That's up from 8 points in August and 6 points the month before that. And there are some bad numbers for Republicans in the survey: Moderates and independents favor Democrats by more than 30 points, women 50 and older by almost 20 points, and voters in competitive congressional districts by 12 points, 53 percent to 41 percent. Fifty-nine percent of voters want to see "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of change.

But there are some warning signs for Democrats, too, the poll finds. First, Republicans have nearly caught up in interest about the midterms, with 61 percent rating their interest a 9 or a 10 on a 10-point scale, versus 65 percent of Democrats. That 4-point lead for Democrats is down from 16 points in July. Also, 73 percent of senior citizens — who tend to vote, and vote more for the GOP — are very interested in the midterms versus just 35 percent of voters age 18 to 34. Younger voters tend to vote more Democratic, when they vote, which isn't often, as Daniel Nichanian notes:

Men are also more interested than women, 60 percent to 56 percent, and white voters (61 percent) more interested than black (53 percent) and Latino voters (49 percent). When NBC and the Journal winnowed the overall congressional preference down to likely voters, the Democrats' 12-point lead shrank to 8 points. The poll was conducted Sept. 16-19 among 900 voters and it has an overall margin of error of ±3.3 percentage points, or ±4 points for likely voters. Peter Weber

September 12, 2018

Voters are shifting toward Democrats two months before pivotal midterm elections, according to polls Wednesday morning from Quinnipiac University and NPR/Marist. In the Quinnipiac poll, Democrats have opened up a 14-point lead on which party voters plan to pick for Congress, 52 percent to 38 percent; notably, independent voters say they'll vote for the Democrat 50 percent to 35 percent. The NPR/Marist poll found a 12-point gap on the generic congressional ballot, with 50 percent of voters picking the Democrat and 38 percent the Republican candidate. In the same poll in July, Democrats had a 7-point lead.

Republicans lost ground across the board in the NPR/Marist poll, but the Midwest appears to have especially swung toward the Democrats, shifting 13 points since July. "Every way we are looking at the data, the same general pattern is emerging," said Marist's Lee Miringoff. "The Midwest is an area that is getting restless about what they hoped was going to occur and what they feel is not occurring." Small towns have also swung toward Democrats by 11 points and Republicans had a 6-point drop in support in rural areas. In the suburbs, Democrats have a 56 percent-to-34 percent advantage over Republicans.

"Could the 'blue wave' become a tsunami?" asked Quinnipiac's Tim Malloy. "There are a lot of factors, and eight weeks of campaigning, that make up the answer to that question." One big factor is President Trump, whose approval rating in the NPR/Marist poll is 39 percent — making it the third poll this week to put his approval number below 40 percent. Miringoff suggests Trump's disruptive trade war is eroding his support among Midwestern farmers and factory workers. Trump's low approval rating is clearly "casting a cloud over the GOP Congress," Miringoff said. The Late Show had some fun imagining the White House's pushback.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,038 voters by phone Sept. 6-9, and its poll has a ±3.7-point margin of error. Marist surveyed 777 voters Sept. 5-9, and its poll's margin of error is ±4 points. Peter Weber

September 11, 2018
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Americans are happy with the economy, according to two polls released Monday. With President Trump? Not so much.

A new Quinnipiac University poll puts Trump's job approval rating at 38 percent, with 54 percent disapproving, a drop of 3 percentage points from Trump's 41 percent approval number on Aug. 14. Trump approval saw an even bigger slump in CNN/SRSS's poll, hitting 36 percent, from 42 percent in August. That drop was led by independents, 31 percent of whom approve of his job performance, from 47 percent last month. When it comes to the economy, meanwhile, 70 percent of Americans in Quinnipiac's poll say it is good or excellent, while CNN's poll found 69 percent calling the economy "good" and 26 percent "very good."

"The economy booms, but President Donald Trump's numbers are a bust," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. "An anemic 38 percent approval rating is compounded by lows on honesty, strength, and intelligence. But Trump's base remains loyal." In the Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of voters said Trump is not honest, a new low, while 32 percent said he is honest. In CNN's poll, only 32 percent of adults said Trump is honest and trustworthy, a new low in CNN's polling. Trump fared poorly on assessed smarts, too, with a Quinnipiac-record-low 51 percent saying he is intelligent, from 57 percent in July and 74 percent in November 2016. Only 48 percent of voters said he is mentally stable, and 55 percent judged him not fit to serve as president.

Trump's approval rating in the RealClearPolitics average is 41.1 percent, with 53.5 percent disapproving. Both new polls were conducted via phone Sept. 6-9; Quinnipiac surveyed 1,038 voters nationwide, with a ±3.7 point margin of error, while CNN and SRSS contacted 1,003 adults, reporting a margin of sampling error of ±3.8 points. Peter Weber

September 7, 2018
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NBC News released a poll of Tennessee conducted with Marist on Thursday, and Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen has a statistically insignificant 2 percentage point lead over Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn among likely voters. Among all registered voters, Bredesesn's lead expands to 4 points, 48 percent to 44 percent. Both results are within the poll's margin of error (±4.5 points for registered voters, ±5.5 points for likely voters), but combined with NBC/Marist polls this week from Indiana and Missouri, they suggest Democrats have a shot at winning control of the Senate in November, despite an unfavorable map.

Bredesen, a popular former governor, and Blackburn are running to succeed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Democrats, meanwhile, are defending Senate seats in Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri, Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states President Trump won in 2016. They need a net gain of two seats to win control, and their best shots of flipping seats are Arizona and Nevada.

In NBC/Marist's poll of Indiana released Wednesday, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) leads GOP challenger Mike Braun 49 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, just outside the poll's ±5 point margin of error. In Missouri, Tuesday's NBC/Marist poll found Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) tied in a two-way race, 47 percent each, and McCaskill takes a 4-point lead if Libertarian and Green candidates are included. All three polls were conducted Aug. 25-29. Political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg, looking at those polls and others in Florida, West Virginia, and elsewhere, sees new hope for the Democrats.

Democrats have an 8.6-point lead in the generic congressional ballot, according to the RealClearPolitics average, They are favorites to win the House, but to flip the Senate, Democrats would pretty much have to run the board. That's looking slightly more likely than before. Peter Weber

September 4, 2018
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Labor Day traditionally kicks off the congressional campaign season, and a new Washington Post-ABC News poll has some encouraging news for Democrats. Registered voters in the survey favor the Democrat in their district over the Republican, 52 percent to 38 percent, a 14-point lead. That's an improvement from the 4-point lead Democrats had in April's Post-ABC News poll and closer to the 12-point lead they had in January. Independent voters favor the Democrat over the Republican 50 percent to 32 percent.

President Trump plays an outsize role in motivation to vote and which party people say they will vote for. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they are more likely to vote, 80 percent versus 74 percent for Republicans, and 60 percent of voters want Democrats to control at least one house of Congress "as a check on Trump." Women are more likely than men to disapprove of Trump, 66 percent to 52 percent (including 59 percent of women who strongly disapprove, versus 45 percent of men), and women support the Democrats by a 25-point margin. The Democrats have opened up their 14-point lead even as 58 percent of American adults say the economy is good or excellent.

The poll was conducted Aug. 26-29 among a national random sample of 1,003 adults, including 879 registered voters, and it has a margin of error of ±3.5 percentage points overall and ±4 points among the registered-voter sample. Peter Weber

August 22, 2018
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President Trump is fired up to travel America stumping for Republican candidates before the 2018 midterms, but a new Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday suggests he may not be the campaign booster he imagines himself to be. His approval rating is 42 percent, down 1 percentage point from last week, and 55 percent of voters disapprove of his job performance, up from 52 percent last week. Also, the poll shows him losing to three Democrats and failing to rise above 30 percent in his matchup with seven other lesser-known potential candidates.

Trump loses the worst to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the hypothetical matchups — Sanders leads Trump 44 percent to 32 percent — followed closely by former Vice President Joe Biden, 43 percent to 31 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) edges out Trump 34 percent to 30 percent, and Trump narrowly beats Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), plus New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). He has a larger single-digit lead over former Attorney General Eric Holder and Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti.

The poll — again, more than 800 days before the 2020 election — was conducted Aug. 16-18 among 1,974 registered voters, and it has a margin of error of ±2 percentage points. Peter Weber

August 20, 2018

A number of national polls have given Democrats the edge going into the 2018 midterm elections and a new CBS News poll of 57 competitive districts found a big reason Republicans appear to be struggling: women. In those 57 battleground districts, most currently held by Republicans, women say they plan to vote for a Democrat by a 12-point margin, 46 percent to 34 percent. Men, meanwhile, say they plan to vote for the Republican by an 8-point margin, 47 percent to 39 percent.

There's a huge partisan split — Republicans say they'll vote for Republicans, Democrats for Democrats. But white women have flipped to the Democrats, 42 percent versus 40 percent for Republicans; that's a reversal from 2016, when nationally, white women backed Republican candidates over Democrats, 55 percent to 43 percent. Independent women favor the Democrats this year, 38 percent to 32 percent, the poll found, and there's an education gap between college-educated white women — 53 percent who plan to vote for a Democrat versus 35 percent for the GOP candidate — and those without college degrees, who say they'll vote for the Republican 44 percent to 35 percent.

On CBS News, Cook Political Report national editor Amy Walter and CBS News polling director Anthony Salvanto explained why the defection of college-educated white women in suburban and exurban areas is so worrisome for the GOP, but said the real threat for Republicans is the enthusiasm gap between fired-up Democrats and on-the-fence Republicans. Walter also said the partisan gap appears historically large this year.

The poll was conducted by YouGov Aug. 10-16 among 4,989 registered voters in 57 swing districts. The topline results have a margin of error of ±1.8 percentage points; the results for women have a margin of error of ±2.4 points. Peter Weber

July 10, 2018
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With November creeping ever closer, the Democrats' chances of flipping the Senate are looking dimmer and dimmer. A "brutal" new poll by Axios/SurveyMonkey shows that the party is on track to lose three seats in the midterm elections: Republican Rick Scott has a 3-point lead on Sen. Bill Nelson (D) of Florida, Kevin Cramer has a 5-point lead on Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D) of North Dakota, and Mike Braun has a 2-point lead on Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) of Indiana.

Democrats look likely to pick up two GOP seats, with Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema out-polling all three Arizona Republican candidates and Nevada's Jacky Rosen out-polling Sen. Dean Heller (R) by 3 points. Republicans look assured to hold their seat in Tennessee, where Marsha Blackburn has a 14-point lead on Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Still, that won't be enough to put Democrats over the edge — they would need to hold all 10 seats in Trump-friendly states, plus pick up an extra two. "It's looking nearly impossible for Democrats to take back the Senate," Axios concludes.

The poll reached 12,677 total registered voters between June 11 and July 2. You can read the state-by-state margins of error here. Jeva Lange

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