With US stocks trading at record highs despite almost universal underperformance in global markets and the US economy benefiting from a late-cycle boom, Republicans are ready to do everything in their power to ensure that President Trump and his Congressional allies retain their unilateral control of the federal government after the midterms.
According to the latest WSJ/NBC News poll, 61% of Republican voters say they're very interested in voting on Nov. 6, when Republicans will be looking to stop the Dems from retaking control of the House. To put that number in context, the poll showed that 65% of Democrats said they're very interested in the vote. Over the first eight months of 2018, Democrats boasted an aggregate 12-point advantage over the Republicans on this metric - an advantage that has shrunk considerably.
To be sure, Republicans are still facing an uphill battle in the House. According to the poll, a sizable majority of voters say they would rather see Democrats wrest back control of Congress.
The Democratic lead on voter preference for control of Congress is the largest in Journal/NBC polling since Mr. Trump took office. It reflects gains for the party among white, working-class women, as well as among suburban voters and other groups that had been more favorable to the GOP in the past.
"Republicans have had a series of weak surveys; this is beyond weak," said Bill McInturff, the GOP pollster who conducted the survey with Democrat Fred Yang. "This is a survey that says the Republican coalition at the moment is unhinged and not connected."
Mr. McInturff emphasized that the poll reflected political conditions "at the moment."
With the Nov. 6 midterm vote less than two months away, 52% of registered voters said they would rather see Democrats walk away with control of Congress, while 40% said they would prefer Republicans to hold on to both chambers.
That lead is up from 8 points in August. To be sure, when the pool of respondents was reduced to only likely voters, the Democrats' advantage also shrunk.
Among those considered most likely to vote, a smaller pool than those identified as registered voters, Democrats held an 8-point advantage on the question of which party should control the next Congress. This is the first time in the midterm campaign that the Journal/NBC News poll has delineated which voters are most likely to cast ballots.
Despite most voters’ sunny view of the economy, 59% in the survey said they wanted a change from the direction Mr. Trump has been leading. That group included nearly one-third of Republicans.
Though it's worth pointing out that Hillary Clinton boasted a similar advantage two months before the 2016 vote (an advantage that turned out to be an illusion).
When the poll turned to issues-based questions like voters' satisfaction with the president's performance and the economy, Democrats' lead faded. Voters are extremely satisfied with the economy, and Trump's approval rating has remained stable at 44%, among the highest readings since he took office. On the economy alone, voters' approval has jumped from 63% to nearly 70%.
The poll also found that Mr. Trump’s job approval rating remained stable from August, at 44%. The share of voters satisfied with the economy jumped to 69%, up from 63% in a Journal/NBC News poll in June, and a plurality said Mr. Trump’s policies had helped economic conditions.
In other words, the "blue wave" that the mainstream media has promised its devotees is hardly a guarantee. Indeed, Democrats could endure another dramatic upset in November that could trigger flashbacks of 2016...