What Republicans get wrong about the 'blue wave crashing'

The headline on Sean Hannity's website blared the news: "...

Posted: May 15, 2018 8:18 AM
Updated: May 15, 2018 8:18 AM

The headline on Sean Hannity's website blared the news: "BLUE WAVE CRASHING: Poll Shows Americans Side with TRUMP on Economy, Security."

The piece on hannity.com was actually just a summary of a broader piece written by the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard -- which carried the same headline and the same message: Republicans (and Trump) are actually in much better shape heading into the November election than people believe.

That conclusion was based on polling conducted by Zogby Analaytics, a firm run by pollster John Zogby, and shared exclusively with Bedard.

Here's the spine of the argument made in it:

"When asked 'Who do you trust more?' on the economy, it was Trump over Democrats 41 percent to 35 percent, and on national security the president again led, 40 percent to 38 percent. ... Added to the poll's other findings that support for Democrats is down among millennials, blacks, and so-called Walmart and NASCAR voters, it would appear that Trump is back in favor among voters and that the ballyhooed 'Blue Wave' is dissipating."

So.

Well.

There are a lot of things wrong here. Let's list them!

  1. Bedard notes lower in the piece that Democrats continue to hold a 40% to 33% edge on the generic congressional ballot question in the Zogby poll. The generic ballot, much more so than "who do you trust" questions, has historically been the best predictor of party gains or losses in congressional elections. And a 7-point Democratic edge would suggest significant gains for the minority party if the margin held through November. (Bedard notes that Democrats were at 44% in the Zogby generic ballot in January but offers no specifics on what the Republican number looked like at that point.)
  2. The "edges" that Trump has over Democrats on the economy and national security "trust" questions are almost certainly statistically insignificant. While Bedard doesn't provide details about the size of the sample or the resulting margin of error, it's very, very likely to be well within the 2-point "lead" that Trump has on national security and even the 6-point margin he enjoys on the economy. Statistically speaking, the best way to describe these results goes something like this: People trust both Democrats and President Trump roughly equally when it comes to issues of the economy and matters of national security.
  3. This poll is conducted via the Internet, a methodology that continues to be looked at very skeptically by the broader polling community. "Rigorous evaluations have found that volunteer online panels are less representative of the general population than probability samples," reads an analysis of the method on the American Association for Public Opinion Research. (You can read MUCH more about the issues with online polling here.)

None of that is to say that there may well be signs emerging of a path toward something well short of destruction for Republicans this fall. As I noted last week, there is data that suggests a) people are increasingly focused on the economy and optimistic about its future prospects and b) potentially willing to separate their feelings about Trump from their views of the broader GOP. And even Trump's not-terribly-strong job approval numbers have shown some marginal improvement of late!

But that's not what this poll says. Or what Bedard's writeup says.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10563104
Hinds10414204
Harrison7397113
Jackson6655128
Rankin6057107
Lee540396
Madison5120107
Forrest394786
Jones376188
Lauderdale3663147
Lafayette341053
Washington3321108
Lamar301950
Oktibbeha255262
Lowndes252867
Bolivar248084
Panola237353
Neshoba2280122
Marshall225051
Leflore211191
Monroe209778
Pontotoc208131
Lincoln200566
Sunflower194155
Warren183058
Tate180451
Union172926
Copiah170840
Pike166760
Scott161330
Yazoo161340
Itawamba159936
Alcorn159328
Pearl River158969
Coahoma155943
Prentiss154931
Simpson154053
Adams147252
Grenada145445
Leake141844
Holmes134461
Covington130040
Tippah130030
George129525
Winston128726
Hancock127641
Wayne123024
Attala122834
Marion121447
Tishomingo114043
Chickasaw110732
Newton110529
Tallahatchie99427
Clay96127
Clarke94853
Jasper87023
Stone82015
Calhoun79513
Walthall79330
Montgomery78426
Carroll75515
Lawrence74614
Smith74216
Yalobusha74228
Noxubee73317
Perry68726
Tunica63019
Greene62422
Jefferson Davis59617
Claiborne59216
Amite57615
Humphreys55219
Quitman5107
Benton50418
Kemper48018
Webster47714
Wilkinson40722
Jefferson38312
Choctaw3637
Franklin3635
Sharkey32917
Issaquena1214
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 256828

Reported Deaths: 3711
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34214511
Mobile20299366
Madison13925150
Tuscaloosa13591156
Montgomery12659238
Shelby1095877
Baldwin9163137
Lee792566
Morgan710851
Etowah677467
Calhoun6695121
Marshall665757
Houston548239
DeKalb504738
Cullman472043
St. Clair451857
Limestone447546
Lauderdale436054
Elmore427564
Walker3818111
Talladega374457
Jackson350723
Colbert336443
Blount310043
Autauga287342
Franklin259734
Coffee254115
Dale242054
Dallas232932
Chilton230841
Russell22813
Covington227934
Escambia206131
Tallapoosa189191
Chambers185950
Pike162214
Clarke161819
Marion146136
Winston141924
Lawrence135336
Pickens127720
Geneva12638
Marengo125224
Bibb123938
Barbour120629
Butler118842
Randolph105922
Cherokee105524
Hale99732
Fayette96316
Clay93525
Washington93319
Henry8946
Monroe83811
Lowndes82129
Cleburne79914
Macon76522
Crenshaw72930
Conecuh72414
Lamar7138
Bullock70919
Perry6927
Wilcox64918
Sumter58922
Greene44218
Choctaw43519
Coosa3724
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