Democrats who want to take control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections are going to have to face the fact that strong supporters of President Donald Trump are most likely to vote, according to a poll released Wednesday.
A very strong majority of 71 percent of all who “strongly approve” of Trump say they are “absolutely certain” that they will vote in the midterm elections. That’s much higher than Democrats. Only 57 percent of Democrats overall say they plan to vote, according to a poll released by The Washington Post.
It’s not all bad for Democrats. Nearly 52 percent of respondents reported they wanted Democrats to control Congress, compared to only 38 percent of voters who want Republicans to maintain their control of both chambers. Additionally, the president’s party has lost seats in 40 of the past 43 midterm elections, so there’s a historical precedent for Democrats gaining ground.
But there’s plenty of signs that should worry Democrats. Democratic voter enthusiasm is starting to wane after an extended series of anti-Trump protests and special elections. Turnout usually is bad during midterms, but overall turnout for the 2014 midterm was the lowest in 70 years when only 36.4 percent of all voters participated in the election, according to a historical analysis from PBS.
There was a relatively high 58 percent turnout rate in the Georgia special election, but Democrats and Republicans benefited from the largest amount of donations in any congressional race in history. The South Carolina race was much less known on the national stage, and the overall turnout was described as “generally low to non-existent,” according to The Post and Courier.
There will be 33 Senate races, and every House seat will be up for election, making it unlikely that Democrats will be able to focus on driving voter turnout in every race with cash and staff donations to individual candidates, something that helped Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s race.
The Washington Post/ABC News poll surveyed 1,001 adults from July 10 through July 13, and included a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points in either direction.
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