Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in-studio to weigh in on the recent Real Clear Politics generic congressional poll.
Leahy: So I’m looking at – you know, I love Real Clear Politics. Have you ever gone there?
Brewer: Oh, I love it.
Leahy: We’re friends with the folks that run Real Clear Politics, by the way. John McIntyre and all those guys. We’re friends with all these people. We know them. We have secret discussions with them. (Laughter) They do a good job of summarizing polls, right?
Brewer: They do. They do a great job. They aggregate them. It’s a fantastic website.
Leahy: And they’ve been doing this for a long time. One poll that they’ve been doing for well over a decade is called the Generic Congressional Vote.
And as you may recall, before redistricting, typically because many of the state legislators had successfully gerrymandered states to benefit Republicans, sort of the old theme before the most recent redistricting was that for an even break, if you had generic polling, Democrats to break even would have to be plus-five at a national level because of the gerrymandering.
Now, they did actually a little better. The Democrats did a little better in this redistricting, particularly in the blue states, where they just jammed through very unfavorable gerrymandering for Republicans. And so that plus-five maybe is a plus-three now.
Maybe. But I want to go back to the polling, the Real Clear Politics poll average of the generic ballot vote. If you go back to May of this year, Republicans 47 percent, Democrats 43 percent. It was plus-four R.
And all of the talk was a red wave in the House of Representatives. Let’s fast-forward to today. The Real Clear Politics average is Democrats plus two-tenths of a percent.
Brewer: That’s a dead heat.
Leahy: Supposedly right? Now, let’s break that down. The three most recent polls on that question – Trafalgar Group, they’re very good, out of Georgia. Republicans plus-five.
Then the German-owned Politico/Morning Consult, democrats plus-four. And then Economist, the London guys, democrats plus-six. Huh. What do you make of that?
Brewer: Hmm. I think conservatives need to remember it’s losable. If anybody can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it’s conservatives.
Leahy: Yeah, well, or more specifically, Republicans.
Brewer: We’re good at shooting ourselves in the foot.
Leahy: The Republicans are.
Brewer: It’s a midterm. There’s always an opportunity for the party that’s out of power in the midterm, out of the White House. But you’re right. I won’t say the tide has turned, but the red wave looks a lot less inevitable, and these things come and go very quickly. I was somewhere yesterday with a client and they pointed up at a gas station sign and said, look $3.13.
Leahy: Boy, it’s way down!
Brewer: People’s moods change. The things that matter to them change day to day, week to week. Conservatives and Republicans have to keep in mind that nothing is a given.
We just lost two years ago, the House and Senate, and it’s losable again. So we have to have something more to offer people than the economy is bad and gas prices are high.
Leahy: And if you go back to the aggregate polling number, the average on July 8th, which is now just five weeks ago, it was Republicans plus-2.5. And so we’ve basically gone from R 2.5-plus to D, 0.2-plus in six weeks.
Brewer: People who think about this and study conservative politics, we have to always be re-examining how we approach the electorate and the populace.
There is a great article that’s out there about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s leadership retreat. Have you read this?
Leahy: No, but actually, “leadership retreat” kind of describes Kevin McCarthy’s leadership.
Brewer: (Laughs) That’s good, Mike, you like that?
Leahy: Yeah, it’s good.
Brewer: Very good. Did you see what he did there, folks? But Elon Musk was a featured speaker. And Musk said, and I have a lot of opinions about Elon Musk.
But you can’t deny his success or how intelligent the guy is. And he said, what we need is a Republican Party that is more compassionate and more fiscally conservative. And he said, there are a lot of immigrants he was referring to himself that came to this country for opportunity.
And you look at the gains that former President Trump made with Hispanic voters and with black voters. There’s an opportunity for conservatives to reach out to parts of the electorate that we’ve not historically been successful with, who, frankly, agree more with us than they do the other side.
Leahy: I think that’s continuing in this Hispanic community from all the polling that I’ve seen.
Brewer: I agree.
Leahy: But here’s what’s interesting, and let me just say, I think if you look at this generic congressional vote, I think that when the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs and basically threw the question of abortion back to the states, there was a big push. I think that increased Democrat votes.
Brewer: And it definitely energized the Democratic base. And they didn’t have anything to be energized about. You can’t find a majority of congressional Republicans who even think Joe Biden will run again.
Leahy: However, I think what has now hugely energized MAGA voters and Republicans has been this FBI raid.
Brewer: Yes, no question.
Leahy: Unprecedented crossing of the Rubicon.
Brewer: You’ve got these counterbalancing actions where you have the Dobbs ruling over here energizing Democrats, and then you have the FBI raid energizing conservatives.
Listen to the interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Abortion Protests” by Ted Eytan. CC BY 2.0.