Swing State Pres

Saturday, November 18, 2017

BTRTN SaturData Review: Roy Moore's Crimson Slide

We introduce a new weekly feature, the “SaturData Review,” which updates key political indicators and highlights other pertinent info from the week.

Donald Trump took a rare detour from the spotlight this week, as the news was dominated primarily by the Roy Moore and Al Franken fiascos.  Second billing was split between the House, in passing its version of a tax cut bill, and Jeff Sessions, who seemed to be everywhere – offering dubious testimony on Capitol Hill, surfacing as one of the many bad options to keep Moore out of the Senate (as a potential write-in), and trying to pacify Trump in his call for a special counsel investigation into various Clinton-related matters.

While the post-Weinstein era ripped through politics, Trump’s approval rating remained below the 40% mark with his “net” still at a whopping -22; the Democrats continued to hold an enormous advantage in the “generic ballot” (in the wake of a very successful off-off-year Election Day); and leading economic indicators remained strong, with the "Trumpometer" still showing that these indicators are, on average, 15% better than on the day of Trump's Inauguration.

SaturData Review
Week ending Nov 18
Week ending Nov 11
Change
Trump Approval
39%
39%
0 pp
Trump Disapproval
57%
57%
0 pp
Trump Net Approval
-22 pp
-22 pp
0 pp




Generic Ballot Dem - Rep
44/34 = 10
44/33 = 11
-1 pp




Trumpometer
+15%
+15%
0%
Unemployment Rate
4.1
4.1
0%
Consumer Confidence
126
126
0%
Price of Gas
2.71
2.67
1%
Dow-Jones
23,358
23,377
0%
Most recent GDP (quarterly)
3.0
3.0
0%















The economic news is a plus for Trump, but the rest of the scoreboard is a disaster for the GOP with the mid-terms a year away.  For the GOP to hold onto the House, they will have to overcome anemic ratings, and hope the economy hangs on, while passing a tax “reform” bill that offers no long-term tax relief for the middle class, strips 13 million Americans of their health insurance, fills the coffers of corporate America, adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit, and is not backed by an economic forecast – by anyone -- that says that deficit bite will be offset through incremental GDP growth.  Whew!

So the standard tracking information was largely unchanged.  But there was one big piece of data that did change this week, and it is Roy Moore’s standing in Alabama.  Never a terribly strong candidate, Moore’s prospects for victory in the special election for the Senate seat vacated last January by, yes, Jeff Sessions, plummeted in the wake of scandal.  There are now nine women who have come forward with various charges against Moore, ranging from extreme creepiness to outright sexual assault on a minor, all occurring when they were teenagers and he was a 30+ year old serial-teen-dater. 

This is still a close race, but the trajectory of the race after the revelations is unmistakable.  Moore swiftly lost a 9-point lead (on average) and the race is now basically a dead heat, with evidence that Democratic candidate Doug Jones’ slim margin will increase in time.  

Alabama Senate
Pre-Allegations
Post-Allegations
Moore
49
45
Jones
40
47
Margin
9
-2






The GOP at the state level is standing behind Moore, but the national party has thrown him under the bus, and is looking at every conceivable option to prevent him from ever serving.  Mitch McConnell is showing creativity not seen since, well, the health care debacle (one idea that is under review: asking Luther Strange, who replaced Sessions as the interim Senator, to resign, now, so that a different special election can occur).  

The implications of a Jones win are massive, from posing a huge risk to the GOP Senate’s ability to pass their version of the tax cut (or a conference version that reconciles their bill, if one passes, with the House version), to holding onto the Senate in 2018, which had seemed a given.  The Dems now have a path to a majority, and while it may be a very difficult one, that is an upgrade from the near impossible odds they faced before Moore imploded.

As for Trump, he came back into view at week’s end with a full-scale attack on Franken, while avoiding any mention of Moore.  This, of course, is having the predictable effect of reopening the door on Trump’s own rampant history of sexual assault, and giving new life to the infamous Access Hollywood tapes.  Trump avoided the worst when these revelations first came up in the campaign, but in the post-Weinstein era, can he escape again?  We’ll see what next week brings.




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