At CNBC, reporter John Harwood -- a frequent critic of President Trump -- claimed that a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll promises a “blue wave” will sweep Democrats into control of Congress. According to new NBC-WSJ poll, which was taken just six weeks before Americans head to the polls, shows Democrats ahead of Republicans by 52 percent to 40 percent. Such a point margin, he suggests, could mean that Democrats will win enough seats to take over not only the House of Representatives but also the Senate. Harwood wrote that Republicans are facing a "wipeout" in November.

The poll indicated that Republican favorability was at 45 percent, and Democrats at 44 percent. This represents a nine point gain from the 36 percent determined by the poll in September 2017. It is, according to pollsters, the GOP's most positive result since it registered 47 percent in January 2011, shortly after taking control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections. Then, forty-four percent give the Democratic Party a favorable rating.

Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who aided in the poll, was quoted by Harwood as saying that the poll results “could not be clearer about making a change in direction from Trump's policies.” McInturff, referring to previous elections, added, "Once again, Americans are hitting the brakes in a mid-term." In the most recent off-year elections — 2006, 2010 and 2014 —  American voters have conceded control of one or both houses of Congress to the party rivaling the incumbent president's party. 

According to the poll, “Only one other time in the last decade has the Republican Party had a significantly higher score than the Democratic Party. That one exception came in November 2014, immediately after elections that saw Republicans capture control of the Senate and expand their majority in the House, when 42% rated the GOP favorably and 36% the Democrats.” The poll also found that Republicans are now more likely to view the GOP favorably. “The overall increase in the favorable image of the Republican Party is a result of a jump in the positive views of Republicans, including independents who lean toward the party. The percentage of Republicans and leaners with favorable views of their party grew from 67% last September to 85% now.” 

The increase of the favorability among Republicans for their party came after Congress passed, according to the study, “a tax cut bill that was supported by a vast majority of Republicans, and the economy has continued to make gains under the Republican administration of Donald Trump.” 

The poll noted that there are two other major subgroups that tend to be more Republican than the overall population: “men and those living in middle-income households -- have become more likely to view the Republican Party favorably in the past year.”

The telephone survey was conducted September 16-19 among 900 voters and carries a margin for error of 3.27 percentage points.

Previous polls

In October 2016, Hillary Clinton held a 12-point lead over then-candidate Donald Trump and had reached 50 percent support nationally among likely voters, according to an ABC News tracking poll shows. It showed that Clinton led with 50 percent support to Trump's 38 percent, with 5 percent backing Libertarian Gary Johnson and 2 percent supporting the Green Party's Jill Stein.

Just three weeks before the election, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that Clinton held an 11-point lead over Trump among likely voters, 48 percent to 37 percent, with Libertarian Gary Johnson at 7 percent and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at 2 percent. By November 6 of that year, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that Clinton’s lead shrank to 4 points over Trump. By then, Clinton got support from 44 percent of likely voters, while Trump got 40 percent. 

Previously in October 2016, other polls also showed Clinton in the lead. The Quinnipiac poll of October 17-18 showed Clinton got the support of 50 percent of likely voters as opposed to 44 percent for Trump. The Economist/YouGov poll of October 15-18 showed Clinton at 47 percent and Trump at 43 percent. The Fox News poll of October 15-17 set support for Clinton at 49 percent and support for Trump at 42 percent.

Yet despite the advantage that Clinton had in the surveys before Election Day, Donald Trump had a narrow victory and was elected to the presidency. 

Not yet, not yet

And in Forbes Magazine, veteran pollster John Zogby cautioned Democrats wrote that Democrats should not take this mid-term election for granted. Noting that the Obama constituency, which was largely absent in the 2016, is animated now, especially about Obamacare and President Trump’s perceived gaffes. However, Zogby wrote:

“Mr. Trump’s job approval as I write is at 45%, also not great, but also not dismal or even dangerous. He retains the support of 87%-88% of his base. Of equal importance, more than 50% approve of how he is handling the economy – 42% like the way he is dealing with foreign policy. It remains to be seen whether or not these are winning numbers. But they clearly are not losing numbers.

“In more than four decades as a pollster, I have observed that the Democrats need at least a 5-6 point margin in the Congressional generic ballot to win seats in Congress. Today’s average leads for the Democrats is 6-8 points – not yet a landslide.

And in the 8 most competitive races for the US Senate, -- Florida, Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Montana, Tennessee and Arizona – only a few (or even no) points separate the two main candidates. Too close to call.”
 

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