Early signs that a change of leadership is coming to the U.S. House of Representatives are looking good for Democrats in 2018.
A newly released poll by CNN puts Democrats within striking distance of taking back the House of Representatives, despite the GOP’s steep gerrymandering obstacles ahead of the election.
The “generic ballot” survey finds Democrats 11 points ahead of Republicans 15 months before the 2018 midterms and their lead could expand even more. Forecasting models suggest that Democrats would pick up at least 34 House seats if that number holds; they need to flip 24 seats to take it back.
The chart below, from Emory political scientist Alan Abramowitz, shows how many seats Republicans would be expected to lose based on how far behind they are in the generic ballot. The organization has been accurate in every midterm election prediction since World War II:
Of course, pollsters are cautioning that President Donald Trump might pull his approval numbers out of their current tailspin and that the generic ballot could change before the election.
“Obviously, it’s still very early. But if Democrats keep this momentum you have to take their chances of retaking the House seriously,” said Geoffrey Skelley, a political forecaster at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.
Democrats got more positive news on Wednesday night, when veterinarian Phil Miller won an Iowa statehouse race by 10 points in a district Trump had won by 21 points this fall. Democrats have been racking up surprise statehouse victories in red territory since Trump’s election, and while Democrats have lost all four special elections since the inauguration, they’ve also dramatically outperformed their results from last year in every one.
“All of this bodes well for Democrats,” Skelley said. “Unless Trump and the GOP can stop their polling slide, it doesn’t seem like conditions will be very good for Republicans in 2018.”