Voters are shifting toward Democrats two months before pivotal midterm elections, according to polls Wednesday morning from Quinnipiac University and NPR/Marist. In the Quinnipiac poll, Democrats have opened up a 14-point lead on which party voters plan to pick for Congress, 52 percent to 38 percent; notably, independent voters say they'll vote for the Democrat 50 percent to 35 percent. The NPR/Marist poll found a 12-point gap on the generic congressional ballot, with 50 percent of voters picking the Democrat and 38 percent the Republican candidate. In the same poll in July, Democrats had a 7-point lead.
Republicans lost ground across the board in the NPR/Marist poll, but the Midwest appears to have especially swung toward the Democrats, shifting 13 points since July. "Every way we are looking at the data, the same general pattern is emerging," said Marist's Lee Miringoff. "The Midwest is an area that is getting restless about what they hoped was going to occur and what they feel is not occurring." Small towns have also swung toward Democrats by 11 points and Republicans had a 6-point drop in support in rural areas. In the suburbs, Democrats have a 56 percent-to-34 percent advantage over Republicans.
"Could the 'blue wave' become a tsunami?" asked Quinnipiac's Tim Malloy. "There are a lot of factors, and eight weeks of campaigning, that make up the answer to that question." One big factor is President Trump, whose approval rating in the NPR/Marist poll is 39 percent — making it the third poll this week to put his approval number below 40 percent. Miringoff suggests Trump's disruptive trade war is eroding his support among Midwestern farmers and factory workers. Trump's low approval rating is clearly "casting a cloud over the GOP Congress," Miringoff said. The Late Show had some fun imagining the White House's pushback.