In a prior Newsmax blog of Oct. 25, we reported in our monthly national poll that the Democrats led in the generic ballot for Congress 46 percent to 44 percent with 10 percent undecided.
Although we felt that if the Republican Party, and in particular, the Republican National Committee (RNC), had launched the right strategic message campaign in support of the president’s efforts, it was still possible to hold the House Republican majority in Congress, we made the following forecast, "The Republicans are in the game, but they have to win back these undecided voters before they break against them two to one. If they do, the Republicans would lose the national generic vote for Congress 52 percent to 48 percent. That’s what happened in 2006 and the Democrats gained 31 seats."
As of today, at the time of this writing, the Democrats for Congress have gained 31 seats and 52 percent of the national vote.
In that October analysis, we urged the leadership of the Republican Party to personalize the election and play offense to stop Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., from becoming speaker again by drawing a sharp contrast with the Pelosi Democrats on the key issues of taxes, securing the borders, government run healthcare, draining the swamp, and globalism.
On election night we completed our national post-election survey of 1,000 voters who cast their ballots in the November election for Congress and other offices.
Just as 2016 gave us a historic turnout of 139 million voters for president, the 2018 election gave us a record 114 million voters for a midterm election.
Among these voters it's very clear that to most voters, the Republican majority had no clear message for their re-election. The Democratic attacks against them were more effective and put the Republicans on defense. Here’s some of the most important findings of that survey:
- Among the 43 percent who voted Republican for Congress (which coincidentally matches the national percentage that President Trump received), 70 percent said their vote was more a vote for President Trump and the Republicans, while only 26 percent said that it was a vote against the Democrats. Independents were more likely to vote against the Democrats 51 percent to only 42 percent for the Republicans. The Republicans needed to make this an election more about the Democrats than themselves.
- The most important reason voters said that they voted Republican were: Republican views and beliefs 18 percent, against the Democrats and their activity 16 percent, better candidate 12 percent and support President Trump 9 percent.
- Among those who voted for a Democrat for Congress only 61 percent were voting for the Democrats; 38 percent said their vote was more a vote against President Trump and the Republicans. Independents were split with 50 percent voting for the Democrats and 49 percent voting against the Republicans. Democrats benefited from their attacks on Republicans.
- The most important reason voters said that they voted Democrat were: don’t like President Trump 19 percent, the Democrat’s views 16 percent, don’t like Republicans actions 11 percent and they were Democrat 9 percent.
- When asked if the "Republican majority in Congress had a compelling message for their re-election?" only 41 percent of all voters said yes. It was only 31 percent among independents and only 16 percent among Democrats.
- More voters decided their vote later than 2016. 55 percent of all votes said that they decided their vote after Labor Day and 14 percent said that they decided in the last week or on election day. Moderates, independents, and women were more likely to decide closer to election day. Republicans could still have made a difference to keep their majority in October.
- The number of voters that say that the country is headed in the right direction, 43 percent, is significantly higher than at any point over the past six years, but 52 percent still said that the country was on the wrong track. Those who voted for Democrats said wrong track 83 percent.
- The Republicans have lost their change/reform message. Among the 114 million voters who came out, the plurality 47 percent said they preferred to continue the policies of President Obama and only 44 percent wanted to change and move away from the policies of Obama.
- The majority of voters, 52 percent preferred a Democrat to be a check and balance on the Republicans and only 42 percent preferred a Republican to help pass their agenda.
- President Trump’s job approval was polarized, but actually higher than the actual percentage of votes that the Republicans received with 48 percent approve and 49 percent disapprove. Among those who voted Republican, 92 percent approve of the job President Trump is doing, but 12 percent of those who voted Democrat approve of President Trump, too. The Republicans for Congress did not get all the Trump supporters to vote for them.
- The majority of all voters, 53 percent, are unfavorable to Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Only 31 percent are favorable to her. Nancy Pelosi, as speaker-elect, is now about to become the most powerful Democrat in the nation and the second most powerful leader in the federal government — in spite of her unpopularity.
- Only 29 percent of all voters say Rep. Nancy Pelosi should be speaker of the U.S. House again. 54 percent preferred someone else. The Republicans missed a huge strategic opportunity to make Leader Pelosi a bigger issue in the campaign.
- Among all voters the Republican majority in Congress had a net negative job rating with 45 percent approve and 49 percent disapprove.
- Voters preferred President Trump and the Republicans on the following issues: economy and jobs (plus 17 percent), immigration (plus 9 percent), tax policies (plus 6 percent), national security/terrorism (16 percent) , national debt/deficit (plus 9 percent), but preferred the Democrats on healthcare ( negative 5 percent) and ethics (negative 2 percent). The Republicans needed to play offense on more issues against the Democrats. It was not either the economy or immigration. It was both and more.
- The majority of voters, 59 percent, say the economy is getting better to only 33 percent who think it’s getting worse.
- The plurality of voters, 49 percent, say that they prefer smaller government with fewer services to, 32 percent, who prefer larger government with more services which is the closest margin since 2004. The big government socialists are gaining.
- The majority of voters, 51 percent, still want to repeal and replace Obamacare to 42 percent who disapprove. It is clear the Republicans hurt their chances by not getting this done.
- Only 28 percent of all voters favor open borders. 63 percent prefer legal immigration that controls our borders.
- The majority of voters, 55 percent, favor changing the law to require that one or both parents of a child to be U.S. citizens for a child who is born in the U.S. to be a U.S. citizen. Only 35 percent oppose.
- While the ideological and partisan makeup of the electorate was similar to 2016, Republicans and conservatives were a smaller percentage of the electorate than previous midterms. The historic number of voters made the composition of the electorate more like a presidential year turnout.
The results of this post-election poll clearly show that while there was no wave for the Democrats, it was more that the Republicans in Congress lost this election. The results show that the Republicans could have saved their majority. The voters decided late. The leader of the Democrats, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, is very unpopular. The voters prefer the Republicans and President Trump and the Republicans on most issues over the Democrats.
It seems simply that the Republicans lacked a winning message to re-elect their majority and put the Democrats on defense. For 2020 with so many Democrats now in districts and states that President Trump won, it is time to broaden our message and base and go back to playing offense against the Pelosi, big government Democrats.
John McLaughlin has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for over 35 years. During this time he has earned a reputation for helping some of America’s most successful corporations and winning some of the toughest elections in the nation. His political clients have included former Presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Fred Thompson, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and 22 current and former U.S. Senators and 21 current Republican members of Congress. Last year John worked as an advisor and pollster for Donald Trump from the primaries through Election Day.
Jim McLaughlin is a nationally recognized public opinion expert, strategic consultant and political strategist who has helped to elect a U.S. President, Prime Ministers, a Senate Majority Leader, and a Speaker of the House. Jim has worked for over 70 members of Congress, 14 U.S. Senators, 10 governors, numerous mayors and scores of other elected officials. He also serves as a consultant and market research strategist to Fortune 500 companies. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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