The consensus political view in early 2021 was that the Democrats would have a very difficult time beating the historical pattern of the party holding the presidency losing House seats, and if the Democrats lose 5, they’re out of power.
Democrats were hoping President Biden’s popularity (averaging 54% the first 100 days), managing COVID-19 and an economic rebound would create a different scenario. Needless to say, not only did those accomplishments recede in August, but Biden is now at a negative 5 points with 45 percent positive. In addition, the Afghanistan withdrawal took a toll on his and his party’s strengths. There are now few suggesting Democrats can hold the House.
The latest bad news from the polling front comes from Republican pollster Bill McInturff at Public Opinion Strategies. He reports the generic ballot test in his national survey is tied between the Democrats and Republicans at 42 percent. The last time it was tied was in his polls was October 2015 (Democrats lost the House). In April, a year ago, it was 6 points Democratic. His numbers nearly equal the polling average reported by RealClearPolitics today at 1 point Democratic, 43 percent to 42 percent.
News cycles move quickly and Democrats haven’t given up hope that they can beat the odds. It builds pressure to motivate their slim congressional majority to stay in line to accomplish some key legislation, especially spending for infrastructure, hard and soft, and voting rights. It also behooves the administration to speed up appointments of more judges and long-delayed ambassadors.