Three weeks ago I wrote a story questioning the existence of the thing called the “Blue Wave”. In summary, the story explained how the much-talked about “Blue Wave” was not present in the polling statistics. There have been some minor (and conflicting) changes since Mar 26, so I thought an update was in order.
To summarize: Still not seeing it.
The annoucement by Paul Ryan that he would not stand for re-election has moved his seat from “Likely GOP” to “tossup” in the RCP poll rollup. This improves, slightly, the chances that the Dems take the House; instead of having to win 60% of the tossup seats, the Dems now only have to win 57% of them. Keep in mind that that’s a harder road that it appears, since 87% of those tossup seats are currently held by Republicans, and 74% by incumbents.
(I will also add here that a closer look at some of these “tossup” districts shows that the polling is very cursory and very undependable on some; so I expect a lot of movement over the next few months, and its likely more likely than not that that movement moves in favor of the incumbent.
Two examples: RCP has UT-4, currently held by Mia Love, in tossup; however, in the two existing polls, she leads her opponent at the upper edge of the margin of error (+5 and +6 respectively). In the other example, RCP has John Culberson’s seat (TX-7) in tossup, based solely on a single poll taken last November which showed a generic Democrat beating Culbertson by 11 points; note that Culberson’s district was one of the most heavily affected districts by Hurricane Harvey, with a substantial number of his strongest constituents (read: richest) flooded out of their homes.)
So, as much as the Ryan retirement gives hope to the Blue People, countering that is a rather marked change in the Generic Congressional Poll, which has shown a substantial erosion in the last few days, as some older polls that showed the Dems with a double digit lead fell off of the RCP’s radar:
This poll, which gave the Dems a 5.7% lead on March 26, and then promptly improved (from the Dem standpoint) to 7.5% on April 7, suddenly and quickly weakened, falling back to 5.5%, advantage Dems. Keep in mind that due to quirks in sampling off year elections, a lead of 3%-4% for the Dems has historically meant that number of seats held by each party doesn’t change.
The data used for the above chart includes the polls highlighted in dark in the following table:
Oddly, Rasmussen, who normally polls well for the (R)s because of their Likely Voter model, is approximately at the poll average. The next big move in this model could occur on Reuters next poll release, when their +10 outlier will likely drop off to a number which is far more favorable to the (R)s.
To conclude: Although the Ryan retirement appears to make the task of winning the House easier for the (D)s, the Generic Congressional Poll is moving in favor of the R’s.
There is no relevant change in the Senate polling from March 26.