Offbeat The presidential approval rating that really matters for the midterm elections

13:21  10 may  2018
13:21  10 may  2018 Source:   cnn.com

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Approval Ratings and Midterms . Midterm elections happen exactly two years after each presidential election and almost always pose a serious challenge for the party in the White House.

The answers are that it does matter – Obama's approval rating can greatly affect the 2014 midterm elections and, to a lesser extent, the 2016 presidential election – and the historical odds of it recovering much seem to be slim.

President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) © Evan Vucci/AP President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump scored a 41% approval rating compared with a 53% disapproval rating, among all Americans in CNN's latest poll.

That -12 point net approval rating gives us a fairly good idea of what most Americans think of the job Trump is doing. And it's not good.

But for understanding midterm elections -- which are, in a major way, a referendum on the President -- it is much more important to look at his approval rating among voters.

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Both sites also show a graph on average Presidential approval ratings in the first quarter of midterm election years, which I have reproduced John Bolton May Have Just Proposed His First Really , Really Bad Idea. A Tale of Two Carmines: Was Trump Mistress the First to Receive Mysterious Threat?

There is another even more important factor that can explain what happens at midterm : presidential approval . 50% really appears to be the critical point. No president with less than a 50% approval rating has experienced party losses in the midterm election fewer than 28 seats.

CNN's latest poll looks like most others on this measure. Trump's approval rating among voters is 44%, while his disapproval rating is 51%. (This shift from -12 points to -7 points is not too surprising given that older people are more likely to be voters than younger people are, and Trump does best with the old and worst with the young.)

While the contrast between how all adults and how registered voters feel may not seem large, a 5-point gap could be the difference between a Democratic House majority and the Republicans staying in power.

That's because there's a high correlation between Trump's approval rating and where Republicans and Democrats stand on the generic congressional ballot.

In the latest CNN poll, Democrats are leading on the generic congressional ballot by only 3 percentage points. In the previous poll, that lead was 6 percentage points.

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2. Whose approval ratings matter more, Obama’s or congressional Republicans’? 3. Is the election really all about turnout and who has the upper hand? There are several ways to think about this. Many Democrats regularly vote in presidential races but stay home during midterms .

Presidential approval is really important. Presidential approval ratings are a major factor in determining the victor in midterm races. Senior citizens, for example, turn out more in midterm elections than presidential ones, but they beat even their 2010 and 2006 turnouts this year.

This tracks pretty close to Trump's net approval rating among voters.

Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to win control. Although it is difficult to calculate how much Democrats need to win the House national vote by (which the generic congressional ballot is roughly measuring) in order to win a majority of seats, 7 points seems to be a consensus estimate with a wide margin of error. Republicans, of course, benefit from how the district lines are drawn in this country and the fact that incumbents tend to outperform the fundamentals of their district.

Indeed, a rough guide is that Democrats will pick up an additional three to four seats for every point they gain in the national vote. (This is based off the partisan leanings of each district.) Put another way, they'd probably pick up 20 to 25 seats if they win the House popular vote by 6 or 7 points. They would pick up closer to 35 seats if they win it by 10 points. They pick closer to between 10 and 15 if they win it by only 3 points.

The good news for Democrats is they aren't likely to lose too much additional ground once pollsters switch over to "likely voters" from all voters like they did in 2010 or 2014. Democrats are enthusiastic about this midterm in a way they weren't in those years. That matches prior years, which suggests that Democrats should do about equally as well among likely voters in the House vote as they do among registered voters.

The bad news for Democrats is Trump's popularity among all voters may not be low enough for them to take control of the House.

GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress .
Senate Republicans want President Trump to stop taking jabs at Congress over its inability to get things done. Trump loves to tout results and bash lawmakers when they do not move fast enough on his priorities.

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