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GOP Takes Six-Point Lead in Midterm Generic Tracking Poll

US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, May 16, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Washington, D.C.

The Republicans have taken a six-point lead over Democrats on the generic ballot in a new tracking poll from Reuters newswire service.

For the week ending May 20, Republicans are at 40.7 percent while Democrats have slipped down to 34.5 percent. The survey was of 1,139 respondents and is the first time in the 2018 cycle, dating  back to the end of May last year, that Republicans have taken a lead ahead of Democrats in the Reuters tracking poll.

Republicans face an uphill battle in November to keep their House majority, and they now face an internecine battle over the future of their conference. Speaker Paul Ryan announced last month that he was not running for re-election, something that seems to have given the GOP a boost in the midterms.

The Cook Political Report on Tuesday rolled out new ratings for the midterms that give Republicans a better shot at holding the House after Democrats have had their own raucous primary battles. One of the key reasons Republicans are faring better, the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman wrote, is because since Ryan “announced his exit on April 11, 40 days have passed without a GOP retirement.”

Many senior House Republicans announced late last year and early this year they did not plan to seek re-election in November. The lack of many senior Republican incumbents has thrown many previously considered-to-be-safe GOP districts into disarray, but Republicans seem to have gotten a better grip on the midterms since Ryan’s imminent departure was announced.

That all being said, there is still fervent debate inside the House GOP conference as to whether Ryan should be allowed to remain Speaker through the end of this Congress, as he said he intends to do, or whether Republicans would be better served at the polls with fresh blood and a more energetic vision than the last wishes of a lame-duck speaker.

While House prospects remain turbulent for the GOP, Senate chances–given the map of who’s up for re-election this year–remain much more promising for President Trump’s party. At least ten Democrats face re-election to U.S. Senate seats in states that President Trump won in 2016, including states he won with commanding victories over Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. Republicans have just a couple of seats that are in potential jeopardy of loss to the Democrats, in Arizona and Nevada, but Republicans have pickup opportunities in West Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota.

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