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Trump’s Midterm Known Unknowns


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‘Shy’ Trump voters, a booming economy, consumer confidence, looming investigations, anti-Trump frenzy — all add up to uncertainty in the 2018 elections.

Conventional wisdom and media hopes are now combining to warn us of what is shaping up as a Trump wipeout in the 2018 midterms.
Certainly, presidents with an approval rating below 50 percent usually lose more than 30 seats in the House. That crash would be more than enough to produce a Democratic majority and thus would ensure an impeachment proceeding designed to paralyze the remainder of Trump’s first term.

In the Senate, the Democrats have three times as many seats to defend (and lots of them in Trump-won states). Yet recently they are gaining confidence that they can flip enough races to deadlock or even win the Senate. The now-orthodox narrative about the midterm elections is increasingly hyped by the media as a “blowout” or “tsunami.”
Yet the dilemma is not just that we are ten months out from the election and relative party popularity is already gyrating, but that there are lots of landmark developments in play that we usually do not experience in any midterm election.
The first, of course, is Trump and the polls. No one knows whether the “Trump phenomenon” of 3–5 percent underreporting in the polls is still valid. The Rasmussen poll has Trump at 45 percent, about 5 percent higher than the gold-standard RealClearPolitics average of 40 percent — analogous to the Election Day outlier and often-scoffed-at polls by USC/Los Angeles Times and Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP. Anecdotally, most can attest that colleagues and friends still usually look both ways before whispering, “Wow, Trump is doing great.” It may be a mass phenomenon that, for some, expressing hesitation about Trump or even virtue-signaling about his excesses serves as psychological penance for voting for him.:snip:

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