Democrats are now leading in nearly 70 House districts won by Donald Trump: poll

Sixty-nine congressional districts, which voted GOP by 15 points in 2016, now favor Democrats by 4 points

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 8, 2018 2:14PM (EDT)

Paul Ryan (Getty/Win McNamee/AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Paul Ryan (Getty/Win McNamee/AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A new poll has favorable news for Democrats as they attempt to retake the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.

Fifty percent of likely voters who live in 69 battleground districts in the House of Representatives prefer the Democratic congressional candidate, compared to only 46 percent who prefer the Republican, according to a poll by The Washington Post and the Schar School at George Mason University. Two years ago, voters in those same districts preferred Republican candidates over Democratic ones by a 15 point margin, 56 percent to 41 percent. Now that margin has shifted 19 points in the other direction, with the margin favoring Democrats over Republicans by 4 points.

The districts are quite literally all over the map: They span from Montana's at-large district and a collection of districts in Washington and California, to districts in swing states like Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Virginia to districts in deep red bastion states like West Virginia and Texas.

"I think they’re suggestive of an environment where the House is there for the taking for the Democrats, although there’s enough uncertainty that the Republicans hanging on by a few seats is not out of the question," Kyle Kondik of Sabato's Crystal Ball and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, told Salon by email. "So, basically a confirmation of where we and others have been on the House."

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There is also another dimension to the growing support for Democrats in these competitive districts.

"Women are driving Democratic support in the battleground districts, favoring the party’s candidates by 54 percent to 40 percent," the Post writes. "Men in these districts favor Republicans by 51 percent to 46 percent. That gender difference continues a pattern that has been seen throughout the year in other polls and in special elections."

This is part of a larger trend in which female voters are turning out in higher numbers than usual and throwing their support disproportionately behind Democratic candidates. As CNN reported last week:

In certain key states, likely women voters say they'll vote for Democrats in much larger numbers than previous elections. CNN has collected data of polls of races rated as a Toss Up or Lean in CNN race ratings in which incumbents are running, women are supporting the Democratic candidate more often than they did in the incumbents' race in 2012.

The survey also found that supporting President Donald Trump is a reliable predictor of whether a voter will swing Democratic or Republican in the midterm elections. As the Post reported:

Trump’s approval rating remains a strong predictor of how people are likely to vote. In the survey, 91 percent of those who approve of the president’s performance also are supporting the GOP candidate in their district. Meanwhile, 88 percent of those who disapprove of Trump’s performance are backing the Democratic candidate.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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2018 Midterm Elections Donald Trump House Of Representatives