If this new poll by Monmouth University is accurate, it’s great news for Democrats’ chances of taking back the House next year. According to Monmouth:
In a look ahead to 2018, Democrats currently hold a 15 point advantage on the generic Congress ballot. If the election for House of Representatives were held today, a majority (51%) of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 36% who would support the Republican.
In counties that Trump won by at least 10 points in 2016, voters prefer Republicans for the House by a relatively small 48% to 41% margin. Democrats, not surprisingly, are in the driver’s seat in counties that Hillary Clinton won by at least 10 points, with a 65% to 23% advantage. Democrats have a slight 43% to 40% edge over Republicans on the generic House ballot in “swing” counties where the 2016 presidential margin of victory was less than 10 points.
Here in Virginia, what could that mean for House Republicans? Let’s start with VA-10, which Hillary Clinton won by 10 points (52%-42%) in 2016, that would put Rep. Barbara Comstock’s job in serious jeopardy, given the huge lead Democrats hold in places Clinton won by 10 points or more. Then there’s VA-02, which Trump won by 3 points, implying a small Democratic “generic” lead, and presumably making one-term Rep. Scott Taylor (R) a bit edgy. VA-07, home of far-right Rep. Dave Brat (R), appears to be another potentially competitive district, given that Trump won it by just 6 points (50%-44%) in 2016, and again implying a small Democratic “generic” advantage.
So that’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that districts like VA-01 (incumbent Rep. Rob Wittman; Trump by 12 points in 2016), VA-05 (incumbent Rep. Tom Garrett; Trump by 11 points in 2016) look challenging, albeit not impossible, for Democrats in 2018. Clearly, we’ll need better than “generic” Democratic challengers running great campaigns, plus mistakes and/or bad campaigns by the Republican incumbents, in those two districts to have a decent shot. We’ll also need to publicize how far-right and in lockstep with Trump both Wittman and Garrett are…
As for VA-06 (Trump by 25 points), that district looks pretty much out of reach at first glance. On second glance, though, after what happened in Alabama last night, who the hell knows? Especially if Republicans nominate an extremist nutter in VA-06, like maybe Cynthia Dunbar – who “first gained national attention when, as a member of the Texas State Board of Education, she worked to incorporate Christian nationalist historical revisionism into the state’s textbooks”; who “called public schools unconstitutional and ‘tyrannical'”; who “says she opposes the separation of church and state”; who “has a long record of anti-LGBTQ views, including once claiming that gay rights activism is ‘the same type of thing that was done in pre-Holocaust Germany, as far as propaganda and presentation and swaying the whole mindset of a nation'”; etc. Note, by the way, that Dunbar traveled to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore, clearly her ideological soulmate in lunacy.
The bottom line is that if the Monmouth poll is even close to being accurate, and of course IF these types of margins hold through next November – a big “if,” of course, given that 11 months is a long time and who knows what will happen between now and then – I could definitely see Democrats picking up VA-10, quite possibly VA-02, and maybe even VA-07, VA-01 and VA-05 if we have great candidates running great campaigns in those districts. As for VA-06, it’s probably out of reach, but if Republicans nominate Roy Moore clone Cynthia Dunbar…hey, after last night, you never know!