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GOP losing women in the battleground districts it needs most

Democrats lead in nearly 70 districts that favored Republicans in 2016.

By Eric Boehlert - October 08, 2018

Polls show white, college-educated women in battleground House districts are abandoning the Republican Party, just weeks before the midterm elections.

In a new survey of 69 House districts that are in play this November, a Washington Post poll finds Democrats boast a 4-point advantage. By comparison, in 2016 Republicans enjoyed a 15-point advantage in those same districts.

Today, Republicans control 63 of those battleground House seats nationwide, Democrats just six. Yet likely voters are leaning Democratic this cycle. Democrats need to win a net gain of 23 seats to take control of the House next year.

Leading the Democratic surge are women voters.

“Women are driving Democratic support in the battleground districts, favoring the party’s candidates by 54 percent to 40 percent. Men in these districts favor Republicans by 51 percent to 46 percent,” the Washington Post reports.

The gap is even more pronounced among those with college degrees.

“White women with college degrees back the Democratic candidate in their districts by 62 percent to 35 percent,” the Post reports. Nonwhite voters continue to back Democrats overwhelmingly, 64-29. The Post notes nonwhite voters make up a smaller portion of the population in battleground districts than they do nationally.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 19 and October 5. That means portions of the survey took place against the backdrop of the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, as voters watched the Republican Party dismiss allegations of sexual assault against the nominee and then, in some cases, openly taunting sexual assault victims.

The findings from the Washington Post battleground poll mirror similar results regarding the sprint away from the GOP among women voters on the eve of this year’s elections.

Overall, 55 percent of white college graduates say they prefer the Democratic candidate in their district, compared with 42 percent who support the GOP nominee.

Unlike generic polls for House races that ask respondents if they are plan on voting Democratic or Republican in November, the Post battleground poll specifically asked callers in their districts if they are planning on voting for the local Republican or Democratic nominee, and mentioned the candidates by name. The margin of error for the poll is just two points.

Note that Trump is clearly motivating Democratic-leaning voters in the battleground districts. For 40 percent of them, Trump is identified as the single most important issue this campaign. By contrast, just 15 percent of Republican voters see Trump as the top issue looming this year.

November may be a referendum on Trump.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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