The Corner

Politics & Policy

Signs of Improvement, Cont.

James Hohmann at the always impressive Daily 202 writes about GOP polling improving, using the new Quinnipiac survey as a hook:

A Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday showed that a generic Democrat leads a generic Republican by nine points, down from 14 points in early December.

The Democratic lead among independents has weakened on this important barometer. Polls in January from Monmouth University, CNN/SSRS and Marist all showed Democrats and Republicans nearly tied among independent registered voters on the generic ballot, a flip from December when each showed Democrats leading by double digits.

“The improving poll numbers and growing GOP confidence isn’t an accident,” said Kevin Seifert, the executive director of Speaker Paul Ryan’s political operation. “This development is happening because Americans are recognizing that Democrats overplayed their hand on tax reform. As companies dole out bonuses, raise wages for workers, and families see the positive impact that this law is having on their lives, they understand that the Republican House majority is working for them.”

– The new Quinnipiac poll puts Trump’s approval rating at 40 percent among registered voters, up from 35 percent in early December. The percentage approving “strongly” is 30 percent, up five points from early December and his highest level since last March. (To be sure, 55 percent still disapprove.)

Fifty-one percent approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, while 43 percent disapprove. This is the first time in Trump’s presidency that a majority has approved of his economic stewardship in Quinnipiac polling and compares with a negative 44-51 split in mid-December.

For the first time, more voters say Trump is responsible for the current state of the economy than Barack Obama, by a 48 percent to 41 percent margin. This is a flip from January when voters said by nine points that Obama was more responsible for the economy’s condition, and from December and November when the public was more evenly split.

A striking 70 percent rated the economy as excellent or good, up 14 points from January and up 24 points from January 2017.The size of the recent shift might raise an eyebrow as possibly a one-poll fluke, but the overall direction is clear. A big question has been whether Trump can take credit for it, and both the above findings above suggests he is increasingly doing so.

More still disapprove than approve of the Republican tax plan, but approval is up from 26 percent in mid-December to 39 percent in Quinnipiac’s new poll, while 47 percent currently disapprove.

There’s no doubt that Republicans will have a tough November, but there’s an enormous difference between holding the House by one vote or losing it by one vote. Either way, it will wipe out their ability to govern. But if Democrats get the majority, it means subpoena power and investigatory trench warfare with Trump, even if they don’t try to impeach him. And if after all this build up, Democrats don’t manage to take the majority, it will drive them insane and initiate a civil war (or a more intense civil war) within the party.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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