Recent Polls Raise Midterm Warning Flag

If Labor Day is the traditional inflection point in the midterm campaign — the point when the election becomes something that’s happening right now — then Democrats should feel pretty good about where they stand in their quest to win the U.S. House.

Although it can be a noisy indicator, the generic congressional ballot is showing Democrats in their best position since last winter, with a handful of high-quality polls (including one from our ABC News colleagues) giving them a double-digit advantage over Republicans. Meanwhile, President Trump’s approval rating — as of late Tuesday morning, an average of 40.1 percent of adults approved of his performance according to our calculation, while 54.1 percent disapproved of him — is the worst that it’s been since February.

As a result, Republicans are in their worst position to date in our U.S. House forecast: The Classic version of our model gives them only a 1 in 5 chance of holding onto the House. Other versions of our model are slightly more optimistic for the GOP: The Deluxe version, which folds in expert ratings on a seat-by-seat basis, puts their chances at 1 in 4, while the Lite version, which uses district-level and generic ballot polls alone to make its forecasts, has them at a 3 in 10 chance. Whichever flavor of the forecast you prefer, the House is a long way from a foregone conclusion — but also a long way from being a “toss-up.”

There are three questions that we ought to ask about this data. First, why have the changes in presidential approval and the generic ballot happened? Second, how likely are they to stick? And third, how much do they matter?

Read more at FiveThirtyEight.