A new CNN poll finds a dramatic reversal in the battle for Congress. A month ago, Democrats held a 50-42 advantage on a generic ballot, gauging basic party preference. The disastrous rollout of ObamaCare has driven a ten-point swing to the Republicans. The GOP now leads Democrats 49-47. More importantly, Republicans hold a 17 point advantage among Independents.
For the past month, President Obama’s approval ratings have declined sharply in the wake of the implementation of ObamaCare. His falling poll numbers are acting like an anchor on Democrats everywhere. The new GOP advantage in the polls is not in response to anything the party has done. Indeed, most of the party’s establishment seems consumed with waging a civil war with conservatives in the party. The conservative wing of the party, however, was the most vocal in opposition to ObamaCare and now looks prescient.
A 10-point swing in the generic ballot is remarkable. Obviously, generic party members don’t run in elections. Most generic ballot polls understate Republican support by 3-4 points. On the eve of the GOP wave in 2010, Republicans had the same 49% level of support in the generic ballot test.
The fantasy that the Democrats could compete for control of the House ought to now be in tatters. With redistricting, that was a tough hill to climb. The continuing failure of ObamaCare not only makes it impossible, but raises the possibility that Republicans will gain seats in the House.
Republicans need to gain six seats to take control of the Senate. They certainly have a map that favors them, as many red-state Democrats face reelection. The GOP establishment’s war against conservatives could still offer Democrats a life-line to retain control.
Contrary to popular mythology, the GOP establishment, not conservatives, has blown two cycles in the Senate. Never underestimate their ability to do so again.