The Generic Ballot Is Predicting a Republican Bloodbath Next Year

I am generally a skeptic of the “generic ballot” question. This is the one that asks if you plan to vote for a Democrat or a Republican in an upcoming congressional election, and Democrats always seem to hold a big lead. But then that lead fades away, and in the end they either win by a small amount or lose outright.

But I have to admit that the current generic ballot is pretty impressive: according to 538, Democrats are leading by a whopping 12 points. And the folks at 538 claim that generic ballot results a year ahead of the election are actually pretty predictive: anything above 5 points for the out party translates into a big win in November. So perhaps there’s some genuine cause for optimism here.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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