RCP Elections Analyst Sean Trende: "Blue Wave" Could Be Turning Into "Dead Heat" In November


RealClearPolitics senior elections analyst Sean Trende joined Griff Jenkins on Monday's edition of 'Fox & Friends' to discuss President Trump's improving job approval numbers and Democrats' chances for retaking the House.

Trende says that the buzz surrounding the "blue wave" Democrats hope to ride to a Congressional majority in November might be based on hype more than data.

Griff Jenkins asked Trende about his RCP article from last week, How The Battle For The House Is Shaping Up, where he said: "Six months is several lifetimes in politics. But there is little doubt that the Republicans' chances have improved over the past five months, perhaps dramatically so."

"I think we've gone from the Democrats being the favorite to retake the House to something of a dead heat," Trende explained.

GRIFF JENKINS, FNC: Listen, the president’s approval rating is up. We’ll just put it up quickly so you see it if you haven’t already. 42% approve, that is incredibly up from the 30% that most Democrats refer to in recent weeks. Tell me, why are we seeing this approval? And you have about three things you believe we should be looking at right now.

SEAN TRENDE, RCP: There’s a couple of things going on. I think the good economic news is starting to break through. I think people are starting to question where the Mueller investigation is going. I think it had kept the president down for a while. And I think the tax cuts energized the Republican base and are playing a role in the president’s improving fortunes.

JENKINS: Now, traditionally, about 23, 24 seats change hands in these midterm elections. Aside from the environment that we’re in, how do you factor in this environment now?

TRENDE: Well, I think if you looked six months ago, you would say it was doomsday for the Republicans with the Republican down in the 30s, showing a double-digit lead for Democrats. But that’s just not the world we’re in today. The president is up into the low to mid 40s, and his job approval, the generic ballot has closed to a four-point lead for the Democrats, so I think we’ve gone from Democrats being heavy favorites to take the House to something of a dead heat and maybe a thumb on the scale for the Republicans...

JENKINS: I don’t know if you saw yesterday a headline on 'The New York Times' saying that even California Democrats are feeling the heat out there. They’re worried about the prospects of Republicans actually having amazing results there. What do you make of that?

TRENDE: No, I think it’s a real concern for the Democrats. They have this top two primary system where everyone runs in the same race, and the top two make it to the election. There’s a lot of Democrats running, they could divide the democratic vote, and you could end up with two Republicans in the general election shutting the Democrats out, which is sort of a nightmare scenario for Democrats.

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