The latest results from the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times public opinion poll, released on Friday, predict that Republicans will lose the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.
From Dec. 15 to Jan. 15, nearly 4,000 registered voters selected by USC’s Understanding America Study internet panel took online surveys.
The poll, designed to predict voter attitudes, is the first in a nationwide series leading up to the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
The results paint a bleak picture for Republicans. According to the poll, Trump’s approval rating is 32 percent — slightly lower than in most polls, which place him in the high 30s, but still problematic for the GOP.
According to Director of the USC Unruh Institute of Politics Bob Shrum, Trump’s low favorability suggests Democrats could overtake Republicans in the midterm election.
“If the elections were held now, Democrats would very likely capture the House,” Shrum said in a USC News release. “And if President Donald Trump’s favorability ratings don’t improve, history shows that’s what we can expect to happen in November.”
The historical precedent for midterm elections after a president’s first year in office support Shrum’s prediction. Senior editor at Gallup News Jeffrey Jones believes that a low favorability rating like Trump’s would correlate with a 36-seat swing.
“Since 1946, when presidents are above 50 percent approval, their party loses an average of 14 seats in the U.S. House in the midterm elections, compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark,” Jones said in a Gallup News article.
Given Trump’s approval rating, Republicans are predicted to lose around 36 seats. Democrats only need 24 to flip the House.
Additionally, 51 percent of responders say that they would vote for a Democratic congressional candidate, as opposed to 40 percent for a Republican.
More than 30 Republican congressmen have announced they won’t be running for reelection in November, making Democrats the heavily favored party.
This could be an indication that voters are “ready to potentially punish the president,” Republican strategist Mike Murphy said to the Los Angeles Times.
The poll also addressed 2020 presidential candidate favorites, whether women are still disadvantaged and the prevalence of racial discrimination.
Results demonstrated that of the 10 proposed Democratic candidates, former vice president Joe Biden was the favorite. They also indicated that voters are ready for something different from previous candidates, such as Hillary Clinton.
“Democrats have closed the Clinton chapter,” Shrum said. “People want to move on. I also think that when you look at the numbers, there’s an opening for someone new, not because they receive big numbers, but because no one is dominant in the poll.”
Additionally, 60 percent of respondents agreed that obstacles remain for women’s rights.
Similarly, the majority of people recognized racial discrimination, but by a smaller margin.
According to the poll, 54 percent said “people not seeing discrimination where it really does exist” is more problematic than people seeing it “where it really does not exist,” when asked to choose between the two in the survey.
According to Shrum, that number is unsatisfactory. He believes the issue of racial discrimination is obvious and that the problem lies in America accepting its own faults.
“There’s always been this reluctance of the country to recognize a problem,” Shrum told USC News. “[This poll] tells you that a majority of the country, by an eight point margin, understands that there is still discrimination and it does hold people back.”