Sun Editorial: Will Democrats rule the day?

Despite poll findings, it’s too soon to declare the election over.

By Alan Bauer
The Sun

A recent Monmouth University poll is getting a lot of attention. Despite Election Day still being way off in the distance, the poll showed a 19-point lead for Democrats in what’s called a generic House ballot. The results have some commentators believing New Jersey congressional Republicans could go the way of the Eastern elk — they will become extinct.

The poll showed 54 percent of voters preferred a Democrat in Congress, compared to 35 percent who would back a Republican. In the five districts held by the GOP, 46 percent favored the Republican and 44 percent backed the Democrat — way closer numbers than the 59 percent of votes GOP candidates in those districts received in 2016, compared to the 38 percent of actual Democratic votes.

If you wish, you can make a case that, indeed, Republicans are in trouble. The new federal tax plan hit the state hard, and only about 35 percent of those polled like it. President Trump is not very popular here, either.

But one also might want to pump the brakes a bit on declaring a Democrat sweep this fall. First, the election is more than six months away — a very long time in politics. Issues change, as do voters’ views on politicians.

Second, the November election won’t be contested between nameless, faceless candidates. Real people, with individual strengths and weaknesses will be on the ballot. There likely will be both good and bad candidates on the ballot for both parties. And, let’s not forget that incumbents win a lot. Whether it’s due to name recognition or a belief among voters their local representative isn’t to blame for whatever is wrong in Washington, if an incumbent wants his or her seat back, they almost always get it.

The poll might have raised some eyebrows and caused some tongues to wag, but it’s far too soon to rule out the Republicans.