LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Polls in 2018 House Races – Trump and Russia – 2020 GOP Primaries – Shutdown, Wall

Your Daily Polling Update for Thursday, January 17, 2019

Up 1 from yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on four polls, ranging from 39% (Pew) to 45% (The Economist/YouGov). Without these two extremes, it would be 43%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 55% today, which is 13 points higher than his approval rating.

Among voters nationwide

Who do you think is MOST to blame for the shutdown of the federal government? 

Democrats in Congress: 39%
Republicans in Congress: 4%
President Trump: 51%

RON’S COMMENT: 85% of Democrats, 14% of Republicans and 46% of Independents primarily blame Trump.

Which one of the statements below do you agree with the most? 

  • Building the wall is the only way to secure the U.S. border with Mexico: 36%
  • Building the wall is not necessary, but it is one of the best ways to secure the U.S. border with Mexico: 14%
  • Building the wall is not necessary, and there are better ways to secure the U.S. border with Mexico: 50%

RON’S COMMENT: Half of the voters express some degree of support for the wall and half oppose it. Trump’s political problem is that nearly one in three voters who express some degree of support for the wall believe it is NOT necessary––which means that Trump’s base on this issue is only 36%.

Among Republicans nationwide

[ASKED OF REPUBLICANS] In the 2020 election for President, do you want some other Republican to challenge President Trump in the Republican presidential primaries?

Yes: 26%
No: 61%
Not sure: 13%

RON’S COMMENT: While a solid majority of Republicans say they do NOT want to see President Trump challenged in the GOP primaries in 2020, a not insubstantial 26% slice of the party’s electorate say they do and another 13% say they’re not sure.

Among voters nationwide

From what you know now, do you think Donald Trump has or has not been working on behalf of the 
Russian government against American interests.

Has been working on behalf of the Russian government: 37%
Has not been working on behalf of the Russian government: 43%
Not sure: 20%

RON’S COMMENT: These numbers give us a snapshot of where American politics are today: 65% of Democrats, 9% of Republicans and 31% of Independents believe the President of the United States has been working on behalf of the Russian government against American interests.

Do you think it was appropriate or inappropriate for the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation in May 2017, shortly after Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, to determine if the President had been working on behalf of the Russian government against American interests? 

Appropriate: 50%
Inappropriate: 37%
Not sure: 21%

RON’S COMMENT: 78% of Democrats, 16% of Republicans and 41% of Independents say it was appropriate to open a counterintelligence investigation.

From the 2018 Election

By Michael D. Cohen, Ph.D.

Before we all move on to the 2020 races, let’s take a gut check: How did the final U.S. House midterm polls do in key elections? The back-of-the-envelope answer is pretty good. Democrats picked up 40 seats and another, North Carolina’s 9th, remains uncertified. Setting aside the open seats, Democrats flipped 30 seats where they beat a Republican incumbent.

We all know that polls are snapshots in time, as Lunchtime Politics frequently notes, and that polls taken too early should not be viewed as predictive of the final results.

Here, we take a look only at the final poll taken in each election (within a month of Election Day) and released to the public. As such, we’re looking at 27 of the 30 elections where a seat held by a Republican flipped.

It is often said (usually by losing candidates) that the only polls that matter are the ones on Election Day––so let’s look and see if that old adage is accurate.

After the district state and number in the list below, we show the names of the two main general election candidates, with the winner over the loser. The first percentage is the final election results showing the victor’s actual vote margin. The percentage in parenthesis is from the final poll: If the number is positive (i.e., 2%), it means the poll showed the winner 2 points ahead. If the number is negative (i.e., -11%), it means the final poll showed the actual winner of the election to be losing. Because this is a study of races involving GOP incumbents who lost, all winners are Democrats.

Final polls indicated the RIGHT winners in 21 of the 27 races:

  • CA-10: Denham over Harder by 2.8% (2%)
  • CA-45: Porter over Walters by 3.2% (2%)
  • CA-48: Rouda over Rohrabacher by 6.4% (1%)
  • CO-06: Crow over Coffman by 10.3% (9%)
  • FL-26: Mucarsel-Powell over Curbelo by 1.8% (1%)
  • GA-06: McBath over Handel by 1% (2%)
  • IL-06: Casten over Roskam by 5.6% (2%)
  • IL-14: Underwood over Hultgren by 3.8% (6%)
  • IA-01: Finkenauer over Blum by 4.9% (12%)
  • IA-03: Axne over Young by 1.5% (1%)
  • KS-03: Davids over Yoder by 9.1%  (12%)
  • ME-02: Golden over Poliquin by 0.4% (Tie)
  • MI-08: Slotkin over Bishop by 3.8% (7%)
  • MN-02: Craig over Lewis by 5.6% (12%)
  • MN-03: Phillips over Paulsen by 11.4% (5%)
  • NJ-07: Malinowski over Lance by 3.5% (8%)
  • NY-19: Delgado over Faso by 2.9% (1%)
  • PA-17: Lamb over Rothfus by 12.2% (12%)
  • TX-07: Allred over Sessions by 6.3% (4%)
  • UT-04: McAdams over Love by 0.2% (Tie)
  • VA-10: Wexton over Comstock by 12% (11%)

Final polls indicated the WRONG winners in 6 of 27 races:

  • CA-25: Hill over Knight by 6.4% (-4%)
  • NJ-03: Kim over MacArthur by 1.1% (-1%)
  • NY-11: Rose over Donovan by 6% (-4%)
  • NY-22: Brindisi over Tenney by 0.8% (-1%)
  • VA-02: Luria over Taylor by 1.4% (-5%)
  • VA-07: Spanberger over Brat by 1.4% (-2%)

Wrong winner, but within margins of error: Polls in six of the 27 races indicated the wrong result.  However, half of these six wrong calls came pretty close and were within each poll’s margin of error:

  • NJ-03: Kim over MacArthur – While the final poll had MacArthur leading, it was within the margin of error.  The poll had MacArthur ahead by 1 point, within a margin of error of +/-4.8%.
  • NY-22: Brindisi over Tenney – Again, the final poll had the incumbent up by only 1 point, within a margin of error of +/-4.7%.
  • VA-07: Spanberger over Brat – The final poll had Brat ahead by 2%, within the margin of error of +/-4.6%.

BOTTOM LINE: Final polling in these 27 House races generally did well: 78% called the right winner and half of those that didn’t still came within the margins of error. Only three final polls were off the mark, missing correct calls outside the margins of error.

For more on Michael D. Cohen, go to

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.

Follow here to get the latest updates on the Lunchtime Politics.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.