On his blog, Politics NC, veteran Democratic political consultant Thomas Mills pours some cold water on the Meredith College poll Leigh Tauss noted yesterday showing North Carolina Dems with a ten-point advantage in both congressional and legislative races—which, if correct, would portend a blue tsunami that would not only overcome the GOP supermajorities but perhaps might give Democrats outright control of the General Assembly.
But as Mills points out, Meredith polled registered and not likely voters—and such polls are likely to skew blue.
Yesterday, Meredith College released a poll with some shocking numbers. Democrats hold a 10 point advantage in the generic ballots for both legislature and Congress. Unfortunately for Democrats, the poll tested registered voters, not likely voters. In other words, the poll does not reflect the 2018 electorate.
Another poll of likely voters done by Survey USA for Spectrum News shows Democrats with a three-point lead in the generic ballot for [the] legislature and a four-point lead in [the] generic ballot for Congress. That’s pretty consistent with their poll from a month ago that gave Democrats a five-point advantage for both the Congressional and legislative ballots. I suspect those numbers are fairly accurate. I also suspect the undecided voters will choose the party out of power so that makes those numbers even better for Democrats.
A three-point advantage won’t help Dems gain much ground, thanks to gerrymandering. A five-point advantage would put the supermajority in play. A ten-point advantage would change the game completely.
As Mills argues, that ten-point advantage might happen if everyone who is registered in North Carolina voted. Everything about our state’s politics would be different practically overnight. But the actual composition of the state’s electorate is unlikely to resemble that poll.
The Meredith poll might not reflect the electorate in 2018, but it does tell us what the election might look like if everyone who registered voted. In particular, it tells us how much Democrats need the millennial vote. In the Meredith poll, people from 18-35 make up more than a third of the sample. In the SurveyUSA poll, they only make up 19%. In the early vote so far, that population only makes up about 14% of the voters.
In the SurveyUSA/Spectrum poll, millennials favor Democrats by 20 points. In the Meredith poll, it’s about the same. So, if millennials actually made up a third of the voters in the 2018 election, Democrats would have a field day.
Alas, the Meredith poll reflects what might have been instead of what will likely be. In the early vote, baby boomers make up 48% of the voters but only 18% of the Meredith sample. In other words, the actual voters are much older than the Meredith sample. That probably won’t change much when the final votes are cast.
In other words, the people whose voices are going to be heard next week will be older and more conservative than the state’s electorate as a whole. That—combined with blatant partisan gerrymandering—is a recipe for Phil Berger and Tim Moore to continue exacting their will on North Carolina for years to come.
Elections are won by those who show up. If you haven’t voted early already, make a plan to do so tomorrow—the last day of early voting—or Tuesday. You can find your polling place here.
Trump’s MAGA geezers will show up. The question is, will you let them decide your future, too?