Thanks to a surge of support from independent voters and a surge in support and enthusiasm from younger voters, women, and voters of color, the poll found that a plurality of voters would now rather see the Democrats control Congress next year than the Republicans — the party’s first generic ballot lead in a Wall Street Journal poll this year.
The Democrats have plenty of evidence beyond polling pointing to their political revival as well. Democratic candidate Mary Peltola was declared the winner of the special election in Alaska to fill the remainder of the late Rep Don Young’s term in Congress and Democratic candidates have outperformed Mr Biden’s margin against former President Donald Trump in every special congressional election held since the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v Wade.
That decision, which eliminated a federal right to abortion care, seems to have played a significant part in rearranging the electoral landscape.
Per the poll, 60 percent of voters believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases — a five point increase from a March survey — and more than half of voters surveyed reported that the Supreme Court’s ruling has made it more likely that they will cast a ballot in November.
The issue of abortion rights is now the single biggest motivating factor for voters as they turn their attention to the midterms, beating out the inflation, border security, gun violence, and the FBI raid of Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. That appears to be good news for Democrats, many of whom have centered the restoration of abortion rights in their campaigns.
But it’s not just the Supreme Court decision that has changed the political landscape since the Journal’s last poll in March found Republicans leading by five points on the generic ballot. Mr Biden signed his marquee spending and climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, in mid-August, and, shortly thereafter, announced a plan to cancel thousands of dollars of student debt for millions of Americans.
The two major policy moves come as Mr Biden and the White House have taken a more aggressive approach to their communications, with the president calling Mr Trump’s ideology “semi-fascism” and calling out a handful of Republicans like Sen Ted Cruz and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene by name.
While the Republicans are still favoured to retake control of the House of Representatives, the Cook Political Report, which once estimated that the party would net between 25 and 30 seats in the chamber, now predicts that it will pickup just ten to 20.
The Democrats could still retain control of the House, but appear to be in much better shape in the Senate. The forecaster FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats a better than two-in-three chance of retaining the Senate, with the Republicans saddled with substandard candidates and fundraising difficulties.
The Wall Street Journal poll, conducted between August 17-25, surveyed 1,313 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.