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Poll Dancing? GOP Loses Lead In Generic-Ballot Polls As Midterms Approach

The Republican Party appears to have lost its lead over the Democrats on the generic congressional ballot, according to FiveThirtyEight.

For almost a year, the GOP led the Democrats on the generic ballot in polls, but since late June the Democrats have been steadily gaining steam. Both parties are now virtually tied, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Seven out of the past ten polls conducted that asked voters who they would support found that they seemed to be favoring the Democrats. Generic-ballot polls ask the respondent which party they plan on voting for without naming specific candidates.

Republicans had a 4% lead over the Democrats on the generic ballot, according to a poll conducted by Data for Progress, while a poll sponsored by Reuters gave the Democrats a 2% lead. The two separate polls were published on Aug. 3 and asked voters who they would vote for if the election was held today.

Same Game, Different Election

However, one expert is skeptical of this new development, questioning the polls’ accuracy and the political motivation behind them. A late July poll found that Republicans lead on the generic ballot 48% to 43%, Jim McLaughlin, a partner at the McLaughlin & Associates firm that conducted the poll, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

McLaughlin also argued that the polls and the media are playing the same game they did in 2016 and 2020 by undersampling Republicans and various demographics that lean towards the GOP in order to make it appear that the Democrats are ahead.

McLaughlin pointed out that during their latest national poll, they found that almost 84% of Americans are struggling financially and feel the economy is the biggest issue for them this election. He also noted that undecided voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the Biden administration and its policy agenda, and have been gravitating towards the GOP.

“Americans cannot afford groceries or gas because of Democrats’ reckless agenda. Now, Democrats raised taxes on families during a recession,” RNC spokesperson Will O’Grady told the DCNF. “Voters cannot afford Democrats’ reckless agenda and will vote accordingly in November.”

Despite the GOP’s falling numbers on the generic ballot, they have a 79% chance of taking back the House of Representatives, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight. However, the same analysis concluded that the Democrats have a 59% chance of keeping their majority in the Senate.

“I still think the Republicans are strongly favored to flip the House, but the Senate is more of a Toss-up,” Kyle Kondik, the managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan election predictor, told the DCNF. “I gave a slight edge to the Republicans previously, but I am not so sure now.”

Kondik argued that even though the overturning of Roe v. Wade has energized the Democratic base, the shift in the generic ballot is so small that it won’t have much of an effect. He also pointed out that “that the generic [ballot] has also been likelier to underrate Republicans than Democrats historically.”

The Democratic National Committee did not respond to a request for comment by the DCNF.

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