Polling Pain for Democrats

It’s been a tough few weeks for Democrats and the media. Grasping at straws and serial gang rapes, Democrats have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, only to have everything bounce off him, hitting them back squarely in the chops.

Saturday afternoon, Kavanaugh was confirmed to the high court despite wailing and howling from snowflakes in the Senate gallery. Democrat hopes for a last-minute surprise fell flat. CNN wished for creepy porn star lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to pull a rabbit, or a pole dancer, out of his pocket at the last minute so we could have yet another delay – a round of testimony, FBI checks, and caterwauling from the left.

Instead of a pole dancer, we have a real poll, from the reliable Rasmussen Reports, their Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. These are the pollsters who most accurately forecast the 2016 presidential election.

On Friday October 5, 2018, after weeks of the left mercilessly bashing and besmirching his nominee Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump sits at 51 percent total approval. He approval hasn’t been this high since a single day last May. So much for Kavanaugh and Trump offending the sensibilities of average Americans; quite the contrary.

His approval index, the difference between strongly approve and strongly disapprove, on October 5 is at minus 1, the highest level for Trump in over a year and a half. During much of his term, Trump’s approval index has been in minus double digits, meaning at least 10 percent more “likely voters” strongly disapproved rather than strongly approved of his job performance.

It seems voters are with Trump, despite the media, Democrats, and many NeverTrump Republicans aghast and outraged over Trump supposedly mocking the “beyond reproach” and “utterly credible” Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a recent campaign rally. Along with the nonstop media criticism of everything and anything Trump.

What good timing for a bump in the polls as the Trump agenda, including his second conservative Supreme Court nominee and the strongest economy in decades, marches along despite a Democrat defensive effort which would be the envy of any NFL team.

How was President Obama viewed at a similar point in his presidency, October 5, 2010, a month before the midterms during his first term in office? His total approval number was 48 percent, 3 points lower than Trump. Obama’s approval index was minus 11, a full ten points below Trump at the same point in time.

How did the midterms workout for the Democrat president and Congress in 2010? Not so well. Republicans gained 6 Senate seats, 63 House seats, and 8 governorships.

Other polls paint a similar trend. The predicted blue wave is turning decidedly purple, and if trends continue, the wave will be flowing red. This Quinnipiac poll shows that Democrat claims of a Republican “war on women” is a dud. Democrats are losing the support of many women, perhaps due to how they have been politicizing sexual assault, attempting to ruin an innocent man, who could, in another situation, be a son, brother, husband, or colleague.

From a 14-point Democrat advantage in July to only a 1-point advantage now, a dead heat.

Another poll this week showed a disappearing Democrat enthusiasm gap ahead of the midterms. This is yet another bit of polling pain for the Democrats ahead of their last gasp election, their last chance to impeach President Trump or at least slow his agenda.

“Just over a month away from critical elections across the country, the wide Democratic enthusiasm advantage that has defined the 2018 campaign up to this point has disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

In July, there was a 10-point gap between the number of Democrats and Republicans saying the November elections were "very important." Now, that is down to 2 points, a statistical tie.”

Midterm elections typically have a lower turnout than presidential elections. Much is on the line for both political parties next month with voter turnout and enthusiasm tipping the results one way or the other. Although Trump isn’t on the ballot next month, his agenda is. As is a referendum on Democrat’s horrific treatment of Judge Kavanaugh.

It’s interesting and predictable that as the midterm election draws near the poll results are tightening. Are voter attitudes changing or are the pollsters trying to regain some of their lost credibility in 2016 by reporting a more realistic and accurate view of the upcoming election?

Ahead of an election, most polls aim to shape public opinion rather than reflect it. By painting a picture of a blue wave, gloom and doom for the GOP, pollsters and the media organizations who hire them, want to dispirit Republican voters, making their victory appear to be a hopeless cause. The message to Republicans is to just stay home, why bother voting for a lost cause.

That was certainly the goal ahead of the 2016 presidential election when most pollsters predicted a Hillary Clinton landslide victory, only to be kicked in the teeth by reality on election day.

After getting it so wrong two years ago, pollsters hope to redeem themselves by getting it right or at least close, hence the narrowing polls. Rasmussen, who did get it right in 2016, is providing a more realistic view of the midterms, that there could indeed be a red wave. Or at least a tie, which in this case goes to the Republicans, maintaining majorities in both houses of Congress.

Much could happen in the next few weeks. Mueller and Rosenstein still lurk in the weeds. No one knows what Jeff Sessions is really doing these days. A bright light may shine on FISA warrant applications and other unseemly or illegal conspiracies. There may actually be a storm coming after the calm, as many claim.

Watch the polls with interest and skepticism. Expect the grandiose predictions from CNN and MSNBC to start falling back to earth. And as President Trump reminds everyone at his rallies, make sure you get out and vote.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

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