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Real Clear Politics' generic congressional ballot is now showing the tightest margin between Democrats and Republicans since January 19.

  • Chart 1 shows the generic ballot tracker over a period of 30 days. The chart clearly shows the bottom of Democrat performance, June 24 - the day the Supreme Court released its ruling in Dobbs vs Jackson Women's Health.
  • Since that ruling, the generic ballot has tightened from Republican +3.4 to Republican +1.3 with three polls favouring Democrats, three polls favouring Republicans and one tie.
  • This is suggestive of a "Dobbs effect" trend pushing the needle towards the Democrats but it is unclear how instructive the generic ballot, or President Biden's approval rating, two traditional electoral indicators, will be for informing this year's midterm elections.
  • Natalie Jackson of the National Journal suggests that polling is becoming increasingly fraught as the political landscape becomes more polarised: "Indeed, as Ariel Edwards-Levy wrote, “expressive responding” (respondents giving the answer that aligns with their partisanship regardless of what the question is asking) seems to be infiltrating all sorts of survey questions."
  • To further complicate midterm polling, Gerrymandering has significantly cut the number of competitive races. According to the Cook Political Report there are now 55 competitive race, down from 75 at the last midterms in 2018. This means fewer seats which will be influenced by a "referendum on abortion."
  • Jackson continues by suggesting that the generic ballot is a better gauge of "the political environment rather than a measure of electoral outcomes."
  • Note: Regarding the most recent data from the Economist/YouGov giving Democrats a +3 margin. G. Elliott Morris of the Economist today highlighted a methodological flaw with the YouGov model which disproportionately gathered data from Republican respondents. The generic ballot aggregators will be amending the YouGov problem in coming days.

Chart 1: Generic Ballot 30 Day Chart (Real Clear Politics)

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