Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats believe a blue wave is building.
But they may be about to hit a red wall.
A Democrat pollster just gave Nancy Pelosi devastating news that made her realize everything has taken a turn for the worse.
Democrats Polling Lead Is Not As Commanding As It Appears
Nate Cohn covers polling for the New York Times.
He helps run their Upshot polling unit.
He tweeted out that Democrats put enough GOP districts in play to win a majority.
But he noted that they did not lead in enough of them to cement a victory in November.
Maybe the easiest way to summarize this fact: the FiveThirtyEight forecast, last I looked, had Democrats favored to win +33 seats, well over the 23 they need.
But FiveThirtyEight only had them favored in 218 individual contests, precisely the number needed for a majority
Probably relatedly, this is also the pattern in our polls. Dems have comfortably led enough of our polls to be at +18. There are then another ~20 races within 5 points. Dems wouldn’t need many. But they haven’t actually led in most of them. There’s a lot of GOP < +3/4.
This has always been the danger for the Democrats. The GOP’s one big, potential advantage in this election is the House’s political geography. If they could take advantage of it, by driving House results towards pres results, it’s a very long night, even in a 06/10-type wave.
A Democrat Polling Guru Gives Pelosi Some Bad News
Nate Silver is a left-wing polling guru who runs the election forecasting website FiveThirtyEight.com.
Silver analyzed Cohn’s findings and noted that the Democrats lead in the generic ballot question of which party voters want to see run Congress was in the range of a jump ball.
He said that the Democrats current lead gave the Republicans a decent chance of hanging onto their majorities.
With a generic ballot lead of D+7 or so, it’s very possible for polls to about right overall, but for Dems to lose the House because the GOP ekes out wins in lots of the tossup districts. Once you get up to D+9 or so, the dam breaks and GOP would need a systematic polling error.
We have the D’s generic ballot/popular vote lead trending toward +7.5 or so. So while the topline numbers in our House forecast haven’t changed much, we’ve crossed an important conceptual threshold where the eke-it-one-district-at-a-time scenario is back on the table for the GOP.
How The Democrats Respond To Failure
If Democrats fall short on the election, their focus will immediately turn to how the party sorts out their leadership.
Pelosi made it clear she intends to stick around.
But rank-and-file Democrats may have other ideas.
Should Democrats fail to win a majority in 2018, this will be the fourth straight election they’ve failed to retake the House.
That could spell the end for Pelosi as the party looks to move on from her failed leadership.
We will keep you up to date with any new developments in this ongoing story.