Republicans took the lead over Democrats in the generic ballot heading into the November midterms for the first time this election cycle.
A new Reuters survey published Monday showed 38.1 percent of registered voters said they would vote for a Republican candidate if the midterm election were held today, while 36.7 percent said they would vote for a Democrat.
Additionally, 15.4 percent of respondents stated they did not know who they would vote for or refused to answer.
The poll was conducted May 17 and included 1,338 registered voters.
Say good-bye to the D-advantage in the generic ballot. Our latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that registered voters as likely to support Republicans as Democrats. @ReutersPolitics https://t.co/0ZIVVs6Zqc pic.twitter.com/rLIHL7jPRl
— Chris Kahn (@Cmkahn) May 21, 2018
Democrats still hold a four percent advantage (44.2 to 40.2 percent) in the Real Clear Politics average of polls, but the gap has been narrowing.
The RCP advantage for Democrats fell below 5 percent last week for the first time since that statistic started being tracked last year.
At that time, Reuters still showed Democrats with a one percent advantage over Republicans.
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Dozens of times over the course of the last year, various polls showed Democrats with a double-digit lead heading into the midterms.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey published last month had Democrats up 11 points over Republicans.
John Nolte, writing for Breitbart, gave some historical context, noting that in 2014 the GOP had a 2.4 percent advantage in the RCP average and picked up 13 House seats.
In 2010, Republicans had a 9.4 percent lead and regained control of the House of Representatives, picking up 63 seats.
In 2006, the Democrats had a strong 11.5 percent advantage, but were only able to grab 31 seats. Still, they did retake the majority in the process.
To reclaim the House this November, Democrats must flip 23 Republican seats.
The Washington Examiner reported one issue that is boosting GOP candidates’ chances is the rising popularity of the Republican tax bill.
Weeks before its passage in December, multiple polls showed support for the legislation at 29 percent, with between 54 and 56 percent in opposition.
By February of this year, a New York Times poll showed 51 percent favored it, while 46 percent opposed it.
Both President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have credited the legislation with spurring economic growth and contributing to the U.S. having the lowest unemployment rate (3.9 percent) since 2000.
“At least as of now, the GOP has every reason to be happier than Democrats with these polls and the even more important trends,” Nolte wrote.
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