CNN had a midterm elections message on Wednesday for its own Chris Cillizza: Don't count your electoral chickens before they hatch. As recently as Tuesday, Cillizza was hailing that "all signs are pointing to a Democratic wave." The very next day, CNN had some rather sobering news for the giddy Cillizza in the form of their poll, Democrats' 2018 advantage is nearly gone:
The Democrats' advantage in the generic ballot dipped from 16 points in February to six points in March to just three points now. The party's advantage has waned among enthusiastic voters as Republican enthusiasm has grown (in March, 36% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters said they were very enthusiastic about voting; that's up to 44% in the new poll), but the Democrats still have a double-digit lead among those most excited to vote this fall (53% of those who are very enthusiastic about voting say they'd back the Democrat in their district vs. 41% who say they favor the GOP candidate). Those enthusiastic voters also say by a 10-point margin that the nation would be better off with Democrats in control of Congress than Republicans.
As a result, Cillizza performed some damage control just hours after the CNN poll came out by conceding its findings yet writing them off as merely an "oasis in the desert":
None of this is definitive proof that Republicans will be able to beat back the Democratic wave. There's other evidence in the poll that suggests that among those most excited about the midterms, Democrats still carry a double-digit edge, for one. But for a party that has been without much good news for months, this poll will look like an oasis in the desert to GOP strategists and candidates.
Cillizza began counting his chickens back on April 25 with an over the top celebration of a Democrat wave that he declared to be inevitable since it was just a question of how big it would be.
If you're wondering whether the 2018 midterm elections will be a Democratic wave, you're asking the wrong question. The fall contests will undoubtedly be a national referendum on Donald Trump's first two years in office and, if polling (and history) is to be believed, Democrats will reap the electoral rewards from the negative views of the President among a majority of the country.
The real question you should be asking yourself is how large will this wave be? Will it be small (15-20-seat Democratic pickup), medium (25-35-seat pickup) or large (35-plus-seat pickup)? (Reminder: Democrats need to net 23 seats to retake the House majority.)
Cillizza's delivery could best be described as performance art. He sounded like a jubilant chirping bird delivering his bad electoral news for Republicans in a distinctive sing-song voice as he could barely contain his joy. Too bad he didn't have use of a crystal ball to gaze just weeks into the future to see that the party gap for the midterm elections had just about evaporated.
Of course, we need to keep in mind that Cillizza has a record of perfect punditry pertaining to elections such as when he declared in the October 24, 2016 Washington Post that Donald Trump’s chances of winning are approaching zero.