'Fake News:' Many Republican Voters Don't Believe a Blue Wave is Even Possible. That's a Problem.

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Posted: Sep 18, 2018 2:15 PM
'Fake News:' Many Republican Voters Don't Believe a Blue Wave is Even Possible. That's a Problem.

We're less than two months out from the midterm elections, and a number of major indicators point to a very successful year for the Democratic Party: (1) History almost always favors the out-of-power party in the first cycle of a new president's term, (2) President Trump's approval rating has dipped noticeably over the past month and is treading dangerously close to sinking into the extreme danger zone of the high-30s, (3) Democrats are up eight points on the generic ballot, and (4) actual results from off-year and special elections have shown a heavy shift away from the GOP.  And yet, rather than issuing urgent, all-hands-on-deck warnings for his supporters to get engaged and turn out in droves, the president is confidently predicting that a red wave is brewing.  Here are a few tweeted sentiments to that effect:


This has been causing many GOP candidates and campaign professionals to pull their hair out because the last thing the party needs is for much of its base to adopt a lackadaisical sense of security (hey, the economy is good!), which breeds apathy and complacency:

America First Action, a political committee aligned with Mr. Trump, conducted a series of focus groups over the summer and concluded the party had a severe voter-turnout problem, brought on in part by contentment about the economy and a refusal by Republicans to believe that Democrats could actually win the midterm elections. Conservative-leaning voters in the study routinely dismissed the possibility of a Democratic wave election, with some describing the prospect as “fake news,” said an official familiar with the research, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data was not intended to be disclosed. Breaking that attitude of complacency is now the Republicans’ top priority, far more than wooing moderates with gentler messaging about economic growth.

Allahpundit points out that the RNC is also detecting this phenomenon, and GOP concerns about a sleepy, content base have broken through to one of the White House's most fervent media allies, who's sounding the alarm.  It seems Trump himself seems to be ditching the "red wave" happy talk, too.  And not a moment too soon.  Yes, there are glimmers of hope cropping up in House polling, with Democrats still falling short in some races that ought to represent plum pick-up opportunities: See, for instance, recent surveys in tough districts in California, Texas and Florida.  As usual, political analysts Amy Walter and Sean Trende have their eyes on the ball:


Republicans may fare better in certain low-hanging-fruit contests in which they're fielding strong candidates, and in which white educated women aren't large voting blocs. They may perform worse than expected in some of the suburban districts that have long been key to their success. It's also conceivable that things could go south across the board, and everything could get ugly.  Wave years sometimes break late and break hard.  Meanwhile, over on the Senate side, things are generally looking better for the GOP, thanks to a wildly favorable map.  But a few rough poll results from CNN again have Republicans fretting about the possibility of losing the upper chamber.  The new surveys give Democrats decent-sized leads in Arizona and Tennessee.  Throw Nevada into that mix, and Schumer's crew could take over three seats they don't currently control.  In that case, Republicans would have to win two Democrat-held seats just to keep the Senate at 50-50 (think of the high stakes, which could potentially grow even higher).  On the other hand, other recent polling showed Team Red ahead in Tennessee, and narrowly behind (or ahead) in Arizona -- and also tied in Missouri, and extremely competitive in Montana, an off-the-radar race for many:


Considering the way Democrats are comporting themselves while in the minority on judges and confirmations, imagine how they'd rule with a majority.  If Republicans want to maintain control of the Senate, knocking off Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill would do them a world of good.  I'll leave you with a pair of new ads running against each of them: