This article appeared online at on Friday, September 4, 2020: 

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, after reviewing its latest poll, said “Republican gains on the generic ballot in competitive seats should worry Democrats.”

The pollster posed a generic ballot test for the U.S. House with its results published on Wednesday: 48 percent of registered voters currently support the Democratic candidate in their district while 45 percent back the Republican candidate.

But in 12 congressional districts where the winning margin for Democrats was greater than 15 points in 2018, the Democrats’ overall advantage currently has been cut in half, to just eight points. It gets worse: For Democrats holding both “safe” seats and “competitive” seats, the leads over their Republican opponents have shrunk to three points and five points, respectively.

This trend against the Democrats also shows up at RealClearPolitics’ generic congressional vote. On July 13, Democrats held an 11-point lead over their generic Republican opponents, but that has closed to 6.8 points in its latest reading.


This reflects on a micro scale what’s happening nationally. RCP’s betting odds show that Trump has closed the 24-point gap that existed between him and Biden in July to less than two points. Among Independents, the latest YouGovAmerica poll shows support for Trump at 44 percent versus Biden’s 34 percent, a 10-percent advantage for the incumbent.

And, according to the Democracy Institute, Trump now leads Biden by three points nationally and by seven points in five key battleground states: Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.

In the 2018 rout, Republicans lost 42 House seats, giving Democrats their current 34-seat advantage. Each seat is being contested in November, and Republicans only need to flip 20 of those seats while keeping their present 198 seats to regain control of the House. While it’s far too early to draw any definitive conclusions, the trend is clear: If the president’s campaign continues to build momentum while Biden’s continues to fade, the ripple effect (or “coattail” effect) could be more than enough for Republicans to regain a majority in the House while retaining control of the White House.

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