In less than three months, U.S. voters will cast ballots in midterm congressional elections that could alter the course of Donald Trump’s presidency.
Results from recent primary and special elections reveal a political landscape highlighted by energized Democrats, dedicated Trump supporters and a sense in both parties that a polarized country is headed for a combustible showdown in November.
Though the election is still a few months away, voter enthusiasm is high. A new Morning Consult-Politico poll found that 66 percent of voters said they are very motivated to vote in the November midterms, while 9 percent said they are not.
The survey found that Democrats seem to be a bit more energized about the November vote. Fifty-one percent of Democrats said they were “very motivated” to vote, while 43 percent of Republicans said the same.
Democratic enthusiasm can be found in the results of recent primary and special elections around the country, and the midterm campaign among Democratic candidates has taken on a distinct anti-Trump message.
People are standing up, they are fighting back, and they are going together to transform this country politically and economically,” said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at a recent campaign rally in Kansas.
In addition to fighting Democratic energy, Republicans are also fighting history. Traditionally, the party that holds the White House loses congressional seats in the first midterm election during a president’s term, especially if the president’s approval rating is below 50 percent in the polls.
The latest Gallup weekly poll had Trump at 39 percent approval, 56 percent disapproval, one of several recent surveys that showed a slight dip for the president.
The president has been busy trying to motivate Republican voters ahead of the midterms, including during a recent visit to Ohio.
“America is respected again, and America is winning again because we are finally putting America first,” Trump said to cheers at a recent rally in Ohio.
But analysts caution that even an activated Trump may not be enough to blunt a possible Democratic wave.
“Republicans are also somewhat motivated, so I think they will get some of their voters out,” said John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “But I think it will be hard to overcome the enthusiasm on the Democratic side. So, there is a very good chance that the Democrats will take the House of Representatives, or if not, they will gain quite a number of seats.”
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