One of the few polls that favored President Trump to win the 2016 election is now forecasting a strong general ballot for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.
The results of the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released this week shows Democrats leading Republicans by 17 points (57 percent to 40 percent) on the generic ballot. The survey, conducted Oct. 21-27, showed a 4-point bump for Democrats from the previous week.
Over the past several days, President Trump has faced backlash for bellicose rhetoric that critics say contributed to dangerous acts, including pipe bombs sent to prominent Democrats and a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Deflecting the blame, Trump has said the "fake news" media is at fault for a toxic discourse.
The USC/L.A. Times poll isn't the only survey predicting a strong showing for Democrats come Nov. 6. FiveThirtyEight forecasts Democrats have an 85.4 percent chance of taking the House. Democrats need to flip 23 seats to take control of the lower chamber.
RealClearPolitics' aggregate for the 2018 generic congressional vote gives a 7.5-percentage point advantage to Democrats.
Although the USC/LA Times poll appears to line up with the broader spectrum of polling today, two years ago it appeared to see something in the electorate that most others did not — prompting some "outrage" among some readers, as the Times put it.
While most polls overwhelmingly favored Hillary Clinton, the USC/L.A. Times final poll showed Trump leading by a little more than 3 percentage points — 46.8 percent to 43.6 percent.
Their tracking poll has a different methodology than most — as explained in a piece published in October 2016.
"The poll asks a different question than other surveys. Most polls ask people which candidate they support and, if they are undecided, whether there is a candidate they lean to. The Daybreak poll asks people to estimate, on a scale of 0 to 100, how likely they are to vote for each of the two major candidates or for some other candidate. Those estimates are then put together to produce a daily forecast," wrote David Lauter, the Los Angeles Times' Washington bureau chief.
That methodology remains today, with the poll asking survey takers to provide the "percent chance" they will support a Republican or Democratic candidate for the House.