Experts argued against the notion that polls show Democrats already in position for a historic wave in November’s midterm elections at the American Enterprise Institute’s biennial Election Watch on Wednesday.
AEI senior fellow and moderator Karlyn Bowman punctured some popular narratives about election trends in America. She said the popularity of socialism has been overblown, with polling showing it to be unpopular compared to capitalism. Meanwhile, those on the right may be overplaying the value of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in rallying their base, she said, citing a Pew poll that found more Democrats considered the Court a top issue.
Democrats have seen a larger increase in enthusiasm following the Kavanaugh fight, with Bowman citing polls showing a 10-point enthusiasm advantage for Democrats. But Bowman also noted a Harvard-Harris poll finding 69 percent of respondents consider the Kavanaugh hearings a “disgrace,” and so it’s not clear if either party will benefit. A majority in both parties disapproved of the Senate’s handling of the hearings.
Kavanaugh’s effect on midterm elections is difficult to account for in polls, especially when local factors come into play. The Democrats’ dramatic displays in the Senate hearings to try to stop Kavanaugh appear to be hurting some Democratic incumbents, such as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), who voted against him.