We've been keeping an eye on Republicans' generic ballot position for awhile now -- recently noting that even in the face of a Trump-centric confluence of drama and controversy, the GOP's standing has actually been improving of late. So might Democrats be measuring the drapes of the Speaker's office a bit prematurely? Perhaps. As Allahpundit notes, Pelosi and company's national lead has shrunk to its smallest level in nearly a year:
Part of this can be chalked up to President Trump's marginally improved approval rating, and -- oh, right -- the rocking and rolling US economy, thanks to Democrat-opposed, GOP-passed policies. Sometimes, major explanatory factors can be so obvious that the insular political media misses them or forgets about them. AP observes that the surreal swirl of salaciousness and scandal over the last few weeks hasn't really budged the public opinion needle...at all:
As usual, the things that political junkies and reporters obsess about seem to matter not at all to ordinary voters. The last few weeks of news have been capital-B Bananas in scandal terms but POTUS and the GOP have suffered little, if at all. The headlines roll by — “Raid on Michael Cohen!” “Comey Calls Trump ‘Mob Boss!'” “Stormy Daniels Releases Sketch of Trump Thug!” “Trump May Fire Rosenstein or Mueller — or Both!” On and on we go, with no polling damage to Trump or congressional Republicans. Does that help explain their resilience, counterintuitively? The more the “siege mentality” on the right deepens, the firmer Trump’s and the party’s support becomes? If that’s true, though, why aren’t we seeing Democratic numbers climb as anti-Trumpers rally to *their* side? If the reaction to scandal were driving the numbers, you might expect to see both parties’ levels of support rising. Instead they’re both more or less flat since February with a generic-ballot gap that’s considerably smaller than it was at points last year.
This reminds me of a poll that came out a few days ago showing that large majorities of the American people simultaneously believe that: (1) Stormy Daniels' allegations against Trump are true, and (2) that it's not an important story. For better or worse, Trump's deficient personal character is baked into the proverbial cake, in terms of public opinion. People were aware of what sort of person he is -- he hasn't been bashful -- when he was a candidate, and they elected him. Mix in the political media's propensity to freak out over virtually everything that the president does and says, and maybe you're left with an electorate that is inured to the whole soap opera. If that's the case, it would follow that even a flurry of potentially-damaging stories just wouldn't break through or change nearly any minds. Meanwhile, as Democrats get more excited about the idea of impeaching Trump (when they're not busy promising to unravel America's economic progress by rolling back people's tax cuts), that doesn't look like a winning strategy either:
Pledging to impeach President Trump would backfire on Democrats hoping to take back the House of Representatives this fall, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll. The survey finds that 47 percent of registered voters would definitely vote against a candidate who wanted to remove Trump from office, while 42 percent would definitely vote for a candidate who would make such a promise. Forty-seven percent of independent voters — whose opinions could be decisive — also say they would vote against candidates favoring impeachment.
Check out the green line among Democratic voters:
Fully 70 percent of Democrats would "definitely" vote for a candidate who supports impeaching the president, according to a Marist/NPR/PBS poll: pic.twitter.com/IP1CPka21G— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 19, 2018
In order to win, Democrats need their base to maintain the level of intensity and commitment they've exhibited throughout the Trump era, which has led to meaningful electoral shifts that portend significant GOP losses in the fall. One of the ways to pander to that base is to at least flirt with the I-word -- hence the pro-impeachment comments from Ted Cruz's very liberal opponent in Texas, of all places. Speaking of which, is The Resistance taking over the Lone Star State? Yikes:
Quinnipiac Poll Shocker: TX SENATE. Sen. Ted Cruz(R) 47%, Beto O’Rourke (D) 44%.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) April 18, 2018
Color me very skeptical on that single poll. Texas is still pretty deep red, and last month's primary election results did not augur especially well for Democrats in the state. I'm not the only one raising a quizzical eyebrow at Quinnipiac's "shock poll:"
If you think TX-SEN is really Cruz 47 to O'Rourke 44, I have a bridge to sell you. It runs between Austin and Houston.— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) April 18, 2018
Back to Allahpundit, who thinks that even if Republicans may some causes for concern about Trump's soft numbers in Texas, the Q-poll's internals (including a questionable sample) reveal how "political gravity will reassert itself:"
I’m still skeptical of O’Rourke’s chances, and not just because Texas is a red state. Scroll down question by question in Quinnipiac’s data and you’ll see that Cruz leads O’Rourke, sometimes comfortably, on issues like the economy, taxes, immigration, and guns. O’Rourke’s rosy numbers are being driven by the fact that much of the state still has no idea who he is. His favorable rating is 40/13, with 47 percent saying they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion yet. Cruz will spend the next six months educating voters about his anti-gun, pro-choice, pro-impeachment stances. Let’s see what O’Rourke looks like after he’s spent three months getting hit.
He goes on to point out that O'Rourke is massively out-raising Cruz, so that disparity may put a damper on the incumbent's ability to correctly reveal his challenger as wildly out of step with Texas values -- but c'mon. Cruz will have plenty of cash on hand to highlight O'Rourke's liberalism. Parting thought: If a plurality of voters oppose impeachment nationally, how do you reckon that spread looks in Texas?