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Diplomacy in Action

Election Day 2018: Latest Polling Results

John Zogby of John Zogby Strategies
Washington, DC
November 6, 2018


MODERATOR: All right. Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Washington Foreign Press Center on midterm Election Day. And it would not be Election Day at the Foreign Press Center without our briefer today, John Zogby. So I’m going to be very quick because he almost needs no introduction, but he is a renowned public opinion pollster, author, and public speaker, and founder and senior partner of John Zogby Strategies. And he’s here to talk about the latest polling results and provide an overall analysis of where the midterms are headed.

MR ZOGBY: Great. Thank you.

MODERATOR: With that, I’ll turn it over to John. Thank you.

MR ZOGBY: Thanks for having me back again. Nice to see you. Turnout is high here, isn’t it, so – (laughter) – that’s an indication right there. I made a few notes in the taxi on the way. Honestly, where do I begin? This has – this is a wild one. And so let me give you an idea of the structure here. I’m going to start with some of the things that we do know, and then get into a much longer list of the things that we don’t know, and then from there take a look at the U.S. Senate and the House, and governorships, and then take a look at then finally the issues that have dominated the election.

So let’s start with what we do know. We do know that early voting was beyond brisk. There were, at last count, about 40 million Americans who exercised their right to vote before Election Day. That is an incredibly high turnout. Now, we’re not entirely sure what any of that means. Traditionally, a higher turnout would benefit the Democratic Party because Democrats have a record of not – or I should say some constituencies that are Democrat, young people, nonwhites, have not been voting in off-year elections. So the fact that you do have a higher turnout would just suggest there’d be a significantly higher voter turnout among Democrats.

However, what we do know from just party registration tracking is that in the states among those 40 million, Republicans seem to have the edge. And even in a state like Florida, where you have a very high turnout among Democrats, there are still 30,000 at last count – 30,000 more Republicans that have turned out to vote.

Now, what could that possibly mean? It means that early voting is still a relatively new phenomenon for us in the United States, and you could expect then that people who are already intense, who are very partisan, who already have decided perhaps long ago who they’re going to vote for, maybe have more of a tendency to have turned out to actually vote.

Today is extremely important for determining, then, ultimately who wins. And I’ll tell you right now, to reduce any suspense, that if young people show up, then it’s a good day for Democrats. And it’s a very clear reason why: they’ve given up on the Republican Party to a great degree. If you just take voters under the age of 35 in this country – so 18 to 35 – and ask them their party identification alone, they have a greater tendency – 36 percent on average – to say Democrat, and about 23 to 25 percent that say Republican.

Another factor there among younger voters is that about 40 percent are nonwhite as well, and nonwhites, the three major groups – Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans – have been voting and have been declaring in terms of issues to be 3-to-1 at least tendency Democrat over Republican. So we’re watching, then, to see if young people actually do show up.

Among the 40 million who have turned out thus far, we have a sense that just 18- to 29-year-olds have been around 5 percent of the total vote. That is not a good sign for the Democrats up to that point. Because in a typical off-year election, in a typical one, you have a total turnout of young people – 18- to 29-year-olds – at around 10 percent. In a presidential year, it’s about a turnout of 19 percent of the total. If we’re at 5 percent now, there better be a lot – for Democrats, there better be a lot of younger people coming out today.

How big a turnout is this? So in a typical off-year election – we’ll just go to 2010 and 2014 – the average turnout percentage of those who showed up to vote – this is all voters now of the total eligible voters – have been 37, 38 percent. The last few presidential elections have been in the 55 to 60 percent range. A gentleman who looks at this stuff at one of the universities in southern Florida is suggesting that, just projecting from here, 48, 49 percent turnout and perhaps even larger. That would make this the highest voter turnout in an off-year election in about 100 years. 2014, to put this in perspective, there were 80 million votes that were cast. That was an off-year election. We’re looking at 105 to 110 million votes cast. That’s substantial, in terms of increase. Put it in further perspective: The last presidential election was 137 million. But there’s always a higher interest at the presidential level.

Okay, what do we know? The U.S. Senate – the Democrats need just two seats to win back a majority of the U.S. Senate. At this moment in time, that looks very difficult to do – not impossible, but it does look very difficult. I’m going, of course, by the polls, because I believe in the polls, okay, just to let you know. What the polls are telling us is that these races are very close, and when polls are very close, it’s very difficult to make a projection. So they possibly – the Democrats now – possibly pick up the following seats: Nevada, where the Republican, Dean Heller, who is the incumbent, is leading by one or two, but there’s no momentum here. In many of these states, no momentum.

Let me just give you a hypothetical example. If a candidate is leading by one or two today, but was leading by ten last week, then as a pollster I look at that trend and say, guess what, it’s trending against a certain candidate. But when I see the leads change from one point Democrat to one point Republican back and forth, there’s no trend there. That’s not only well within the margin of error, it just simply means there’s no trend line.

Democrats could possibly pick up Nevada, could pick up Arizona, could pick up Wisconsin, and possibly pick up – if it’s a good Democratic night – Texas. On the other hand, we have a state like Missouri, where Claire McCaskill is the incumbent running against a fellow named Hawley, and she has not led the entire year until one poll came out on Sunday giving her a three-point lead. I’ve polled Missouri for years, and like Florida, it can really drive you crazy. Those are one-point races all the time. We just don’t know what to project.

North Dakota is a Democratic seat held by Heidi Heitkamp, and she looks to be losing that seat. She has never led; she’s down by double digits, so it’s not good for her. U.S. Senate then looks like it stays in Republican hands. However, if that voter turnout is high among young people, so many of these races are close. And I’m going to be the first one to suggest to you that if that – if it is that kind of young people’s turnout that it could very well be a Democratic majority in the Senate.

Now why do I say that? I’ll go back to 2012. That was the year that Barack Obama was running for re-election and running against Mitt Romney. And what we were seeing back in 2012 was a race. We were doing daily tracking of that race. What we were seeing was the lead changing in the presidential race. And one of the notable features of that was young people. Barack Obama in his first election, in 2008, had received 66 percent of the vote among 18- to 29-year-olds. When we were doing a daily tracking in 2012, he was getting 48 percent of the vote among 18- to 29-year-olds. And then we started to see, by Friday before the election, 51 percent for Obama, 52 percent, 53, 54. By the day before the election, he’s polling 61 percent – less – 61 percent of those young people. However, young women were now telling us they were coming out in large numbers, and Obama won 73 percent of the vote among young people. And that broke very late.

So if young people turn out – I know this is the fifth time, sixth time I’m saying it – and in particular young women and nonwhites – completely different story. You see how a person can talk when he doesn’t really know what’s going to happen at all? Good analysis, right? Thank you. Okay.

All right, the House of Representatives is driving us crazy, absolutely crazy. If we go by history, Democrats should have a majority. They only need 23 seats, pick-ups from Republicans, to turn it into a Democratic majority. Historically speaking, in an off-year election, the first off-year election after a new president, the party outside of a majority picks up 23 seats. So historical average, advantage Democrats. As you’ve learned, though, what does history have to do with anything anymore? But that is clearly an advantage.

We’re looking at 36 races right now that are toss-ups, 36 of those. Twenty-nine of those 36 seats that are toss-ups are currently held by Republicans. Seventeen of those 29 seats are tied or one-point or two-point leads by a Democrat or a Republican. What am I looking at? And I should tell you, that’s right on up to the very last polling that I saw by The New York Times and CNN. Those seats just haven’t changed, and if they have it’s only been a matter of a half a point or a point. So where am I looking? I’m looking first and foremost in upstate New York. I live in upstate New York. There’s three districts in particular where there are Republican incumbents. First is New York 19. Do you want to get in the weeds like this or – is that okay?

MODERATOR: They say yes. (Laughter.)

MR ZOGBY: Okay, so you and I will be – we’ll be one-on-one here. New York 19 has a long-time Republican, but first-term congressman John Faso. Faso is running against a young gentleman by the name of Anthony Delgado. Delgado – there’s an enormous amount of money that’s been spent on this race. Faso has never had more than a one-point lead. Generally Delgado has led by two or three points. Today, it’s tied. I’m looking at that one. I happen to live in District New York 22, Claudia Tenney, who is a devotee of Donald Trump, very close. Trump in fact came up and campaigned for Claudia. She won in a three-way race last time with 46 percent of the vote. She has not polled in a two-way race higher than 46 percent at all. She’s running against a state assemblyman by the name of Anthony Brindisi, and that one too. Brindisi was leading, and leading early, but after Labor Day, Donald Trump came in and campaigned and that turned the tide. It made it a very close and competitive race and it’s stayed competitive.

I’m looking as well at New York 27, Christopher Collins. This is way west in Buffalo. The others are central New York state. Just north of Buffalo – I know somebody once said, “Can there be north of Buffalo?” Yes, actually northeast of Buffalo. Christopher Collins has been indicted; he’s a Republican, and yet he is still leading by four percentage points. When he was indicted, he tried to drop out of the race and was persuaded by polls that he should stay in and so we’re watching that one.

Here are some others in not-so-great detail. I’m going to try to do these kind of east to west. Pennsylvania 1st District, which is way east, Allentown area, tied. Virginia’s 2nd District, the Republican incumbent currently leads by three. Virginia 7, Barbara Comstock, tied. North Carolina, Republican incumbent, North Carolina 9th District, tied. New Jersey 3rd District, Republican currently holds the seat, 45 to 44, the Democrat leads.

The – I told you that there was so many of these races that were tied and one and two points. We really just don’t know. So what can I tell you about the House? Here’s the question – and this is a good question to generate a lot of interest, I think – so if these are tied and one-point races, if the Democrats win every one of them or almost every one by one or two points, is that a close race or is that a landslide? I think it’s a good question. That’s where spin comes in.

Let’s look at the issues. The biggest issue is generally the biggest guy in the room, and if you want to know who the biggest guy in the room is, all you have to do is ask him and he’ll tell you. Donald Trump is the issue. This is a referendum on Mr. Trump. He has a habit of making everything about him, and he’s been very successful in doing that. And so that is what has generated an enormous amount of interest. That is by and large what has brought out the 40 million voters one way or another. These are people by and large who love Donald Trump or hate Donald Trump.

For the Democrats, however, that’s not enough. There – it’s simply not enough, especially at a time when Donald Trump’s approval ratings are actually fairly stable, averaging – now, I do a different average than RealClearPolitics. RealClearPolitics will take you back a few weeks. I just look at the last three polls because it’s all within a timeframe. The President right now is at about 46 percent. Nothing to brag about, but that’s not loser territory. It is not loser territory. It also means that he has a very high-intense group of followers. For all intents and purposes, and you have heard this before, he owns the Republican Party. And fellow Republicans cannot distance themselves from him, even when there are some things that prove to be very controversial.

Besides Donald Trump, what are the three issues? The number one issue in the country happens to be the number one issue for Democrats, and that’s healthcare. It’s understandable and predictable that it’s much harder to take something away from people once they’ve gotten it, and that’s basically what’s going on with efforts to repeal Obamacare, efforts to limit Obamacare or the affordable health act. Democrats have succeeded in staying on focus with that message on healthcare. So much so that it not only has made the races competitive in all of these competitive districts, but even more importantly, it has put Republicans on the defense. So now you clearly have Republicans, incumbents, fighting for their lives who are saying, “I would never strip coverage, insurance coverage for someone with a preexisting condition,” even when it shows them voting aye in the House of Representatives to strip people of their coverage for preexisting conditions. Democrats score one for them. It’s made this very competitive.

The number two issue, in total, happens to be the number one issue for Republicans, and that’s the economy. And who am I to say? I have not won the presidency of the United States; Donald Trump has. So who am I to judge? But that was a winning issue and it has made Republicans competitive where history may have suggested that they would lose more seats. 3.7 percent unemployment? Frankly, that’s a number I never thought I was ever going to see again. Wages up – not by much but continuously. The GDP is up. Last month, 1,000 new manufacturing jobs a day for 30 days. The economic news is good; not everybody shares in the benefits. But those are the barometric readings that we’ve always used, and those barometric readings are pointing up. And just as a president gets the blame when an economy turns sour, president gets the credit when the economy is good.

So our polling has shown 34, 35 percent of Latino voters saying, “I’m doing better off than I was a few years ago.” 31 percent African American voters, “I’m doing better off” – financially, that is – “than I was a few years ago.” Younger voters, the same thing. Now, what’s that mean? Again, I don’t know. They’re not going to vote Republican more than likely. But is that a reason why they may not vote at all? Why upset things if things are going better for me? This is very complicated.

The number three issue in the country, which has worked for Republicans – for the base – is immigration. You have Americans who live 2,400 miles from the border with Mexico who are demanding for their security that a wall be put up between the United States and Mexico. It is a high-intensity issue for Republicans. It’s a questionable issue, though, to raise the way the President has raised it for swing voters, suburban voters. And, of course, it has turned off suburban voters, but now we’re going to see if they’re going to vote.

So presumably – not presumably – we know we’re having a high voter turnout today. The last point that I’ll leave you with is: Is it a high turnout in all the places the Democrats need to win? Remember, there are a lot of Republican-held seats that are safe seats. Those races that are competitive, meaning Republican districts that maybe Hillary Clinton carried two years ago that show that they can bring Democratic voters out – is that where Democrats are turning out to vote? And that’s why we’re all going to be watching the same results as they come in.

Now, that’s normal – that’s a little longer than I normally go, but thank you very much.

MODERATOR: Okay, we’ll open it up to question and answer. If I could just ask you to wait for the microphone and state your name and outlet, we’ll start right here.

QUESTION: This is – hi. I’m Laura Saarikoski from the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. This is more of an observation, maybe, but a couple of years ago when I got here, everybody, especially Republicans, were talking about ISIS, terrorism, ISIS, terrorism. And lo and behold, I haven’t actually heard a lot about that now. It’s all about caravan, caravan, caravan. So do you think that there is actually a high tendency for U.S. voters to sort of follow whatever lead the politicians say and all of a sudden consider it supremely important, even though it’s completely different issue from two years ago, as long as it’s a threat?

MR ZOGBY: That’s a good point. There are two different factors in play. One is it was a presidential race and foreign policy is the – and the military are the responsibility of the White House and the administration. The second thing is it’s true everywhere: Whatever is on the news agenda is what people are talking about. So for example, I mean, I hear all of the time, oh, voters don’t care about the environment. No, that’s not true. They do care about the environment, especially if there’s a nuclear accident or there is some sort of devastating catastrophe that takes place.

ISIS is out of the news right now. It looks like there has not been a huge, major attack. They have retreated, retrenched in Syria and Iraq, and it’s not necessarily relevant in a local district. Do Americans care about it? Sure, when they hear about it.

MODERATOR: And I just want to note, I saw a couple journalists on this side. If you want to have questions asked, make sure I can see you. Come grab a seat, please.

All right, for next question we’ll go here.

QUESTION: Hi. David Smith of The Guardian. Do you think these elections will actually tell us much about 2020 on the one side, given the way Barack Obama survived the beating in the 2010 midterms and actually bounced back? And some might argue perhaps that lulled his opposition into a false sense of security. Will it actually be okay for Trump if he loses the House, for example?

And on the other side, do you imagine every Democratic contender will be sort of poring over these results and within hours will be sort of looking for patterns of who’s likely to benefit and not?

MR ZOGBY: Yes and yes. Next question. (Laughter.) Yes, of course, and yes, of course, okay? Yeah. First thing: Donald Trump is at his best when he’s the victim. He’s anti-elite running against the elite. What is the best thing that can happen? The elite defeated him. How? Fake news and misrepresentation and all of that. That is a solid base and it’s not retrenching. It’s growing. And the guy’s at 46 percent, which is exactly where he was when he won.

Now, what he should be concerned about maybe less than the House – and I kind of skimmed – I didn’t talk about this – are the number of governorships that he may lose today, maybe as many as 10. That’s very important, not – because we’re looking at Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida. Those are all states where – that were pivotal to his victory. And so – but that’s what fuels that movement. The 2010 candidates, of course, yeah, are looking, especially because it’s a high voter turnout. They’re looking to see: Can that Barack Obama base come back? It doesn’t normally during off-year elections. Did it today?

QUESTION: Hi, Vergard Kvaale from the Norwegian newspaper Dagladet. I was just wondering, have you seen any effects in the polls when it comes to how Trump has been campaigning in these past couple of weeks, also how he dealt with the mail bombs, the shooting in Pittsburgh; basically, his behavior over the past couple of weeks?

MR ZOGBY: Yeah. So let’s deal with the second one first. Zero impact, no. And look, I go back to his own words. He said, I can shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue in the middle of the day and it won’t affect my base. He hasn’t quite done that, but he – there are things that would hurt mainstream kinds of politicians that don’t hurt him. Now, in terms of how the voters have responded, it’s been polarizing. Those who hate him hate him even more, if you can imagine, and those who love him just let that stuff roll off his back.

MODERATOR: We’ll go right back here and then to you after. Yeah, that gentleman right there.

QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you so much. This is Jahanzaib Ali from ARY News TV, Pakistan. Sir, if the Republicans are going to win, do you really think it’s just because of Mr. Donald Trump?

MR ZOGBY: That’s a very good question. Yes, I do, and if they win it’s because he has 90 percent support among self-identified Republicans and because the economy is good. And this is a transition I’ve seen in my field. I used to be able to ask, “Is the country headed in the right direction or is it on the wrong track,” and I would get an honest reaction. Now, it’s almost entirely partisan. Democrat – if Obama’s president, the country is headed in the right direction, the Democrats say, and the Republicans say we’re going to hell. And today, the Republicans are much more likely to say the country is headed in the right direction.

He owns his party and these are – we’re talking about Republican districts that are open for play. Now historically, he would lose them, and he may – he may lose them. The very fact that they’re competitive through all of this turmoil suggests that there is something that he has that he’s able to generate. And I saw it in my own congressional district, the New York 22. Claudia Tenney was down seven to nine points and then it was tied and stayed tied. I hope that helps.

MODERATOR: We’ll go back here and then --

QUESTION: Okay. Maria Ann-Rohemae, Estonian Public Broadcasting. My question is: If Democrats won’t take the House, what did they do wrong? But – and if they do take the House, what will actually happen? Will two parties come together or will it kind of be a standstill for the next couple of years?

MR ZOGBY: Okay, very good questions. If they don’t win, it could very well be because of the economy and because they did not represent themselves as change. But young people didn’t turn out or just decided who am I voting for; hence, one of the big issues – and I didn’t mention it – has been in almost every district Nancy Pelosi. I don’t know where opposition researchers get these pictures that they use of their opposition, and I’m sure they’re doctored to some degree, but boy, they have been portraying her as awful. And you even have many Democrats, first-time candidates who say, and I will not support Nancy Pelosi for – well, boy, do they have something to learn when they get under that dome about how things work or don’t work here in D.C., so that they were seen as old and tired, corrupt, been around too long.

If they do win, was that the --

QUESTION: No, yeah – basically, if they win, what will happen? Will the two parties come together or will it be on a standstill?

MR ZOGBY: No, the two parties will not come together, period, exclamation point. In fact, what you will have is investigation after investigation after investigation. The Democrats will want blood, just as the Republicans wanted blood, and it will give a tremendous opportunity to President Trump to – answering the previous questions – to run as a victim of a machine of an old network that – an elite that has been ruling Washington for too long.

MODERATOR: Here in front.

QUESTION: Hi, thanks. Nirmal Ghosh from the Straits Times. I’m curious about the state governorships that Republicans might lose. You mentioned about 10, maybe half a dozen or 10 could go. How should we look at this? Should we look at this as a bellwether of public opinion ahead of 2020 or should we look at it as what these governors can do, or what material effect it could have on 2020, for example?

MR ZOGBY: Okay. First of all, we should look at it as the changing demographics of the United States, that elements of the Obama coalition, younger voters. When I mention younger voters, I don’t mean, oh, this interesting group of millennials that are younger and different. They are a large group of people, and that’s empowerment. It’s easier to mobilize on a state-level than on a congressional district level. What will these Democrats be able to do if they get in the governorship? They will play a major role in the redistricting of everything from Congress to the state legislatures. That has been perhaps one of the powerful elements of the Obama legacy, that he didn’t carry his party with him, especially on the state level.

But we’d be looking then at a number of things. We’d be looking then at demographic changes carrying us into the 2020s and redrawing of congressional lines that favor Democrats in states where for a decade it’s favored Republicans. And then we’d be looking as well at the rise of diversity in governors’ mansions and state legislatures, as well as Congress as well. No matter what happens today, we’re going to have a record number of women. We’re going to have a record number of people who are nonwhite and of different sexual orientation.

QUESTION: Hi. I’m with the Swedish newspaper. I wonder – there’s been some talk about white, educated women in the suburbs rejecting Trump. Do you see that in the polls? And why do they do that? What did they find out about Trump they didn’t know when they voted for him the last time?

MR ZOGBY: No I have the answer. I’m just – it’s a lot, okay? (Laughter.) I’m trying to limit it. He has gone out of his way to alienate women, gone out of his way to alienate Latinos. But Latinos are telling us, “I’m afraid of voting. The stakes are very high, and I’m afraid somebody’s going to catch me voting and that’s going to hurt somebody.”

But with women, there’s an understanding, not only the numbers, but there is also the Me Too movement. So they’ve learned something about taking power. So they’re running – women are running for office on every level. They’re turning out to vote not only because it’s women who are running, but also because there is a greater understanding that there’s a need to reduce, if not eliminate, the patriarchal system, and Donald Trump has certainly enabled that. He’s the Harvey Weinstein in-chief. Why did I say that? (Laughter.) Don’t take that down, okay. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: Any questions?

MR ZOGBY: I’m just – is there a trap door here that I can – (laughter.)

MODERATOR: Yep, right in front here.

QUESTION: Hi. I’m Bas Blokker for NRC, Dutch newspaper. I was wondering – you mentioned something about when the Democrats win the House each time by one point – percent point difference. Is that a landslide or what? Let’s say that that happens. What does that tell us about the Democratic victory, and also with 2020 in mind?

MR ZOGBY: Yeah, very good. It tells us that there – in an off-year anyway, they’re not able to take advantage of the demographics that favor them and the registration numbers that favor them. If you look just at voter registration, there’s a five, six-point Democratic advantage over Republicans.

It also means that it was not enough to overcome what we call “gerrymandering,” that it’s one thing – I have done, like all of us pollsters do, that congressional generic: Who would you vote for in your district – the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate? It’s a skewed number, and skewed in the sense that in order for the Democrats to win, because of the nature of how the seats are districted, the parties are districted, Democrats have to win the popular vote by double digits. So when I see a 50 to 43 edge, that’s enough to win more seats, but not necessarily enough to win 23 seats. That help?

QUESTION: Yeah, it did.



QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Zogby. Just Carlos Perez from Carne Cruda Radio in Spain. Even if Democrats win the House, they will do in a very competitive way. It’s a fact that Republicans are doing – are being very competitives in off-year election while they are in power. What party will be in position to celebrate what in this situation?

MR ZOGBY: Well, so let me say – and just sort of continuing on with this gentleman’s question as well, that the – Democrats need to win a convincing victory to be back in the mainstream or – yeah, to brag, I should say. Now why is that? They have – and I’ll repeat it – they have demographics on their side. They have young people on their side – although young people may not stay Democrat, we do know that they’re not Republican. I’m repeating that. But they need momentum to go into 2020, and they have very difficult choices to make going into 2020. They need a commanding victory, the capacity to bring out that Obama coalition in larger numbers.

Now, who do they do it with? Do they do it with a progressive candidate or a mainstream candidate? That’s one question. Do they do it with an older, traditional candidate or a young face? And look, there are arguments both ways. One can argue that if it’s a – first of all, progressive versus mainstream – if it’s a progressive candidate, that’s going to alienate a lot of the middle. That could be troublesome. That lays open the possibility of charges of socialism and gives Republicans some breathing room. If they go with a mainstream candidate, then that’s exactly what Donald Trump needs: anti-elite versus establishment.

Now, who do they go with? Do they go with a Joe Biden, for example, or a Bloomberg, Mike Bloomberg? There’s an argument for that. I mean, when I look at the debates, who do I want if I’m a Democrat standing head to head with Donald Trump? Do I want someone who’s a new face, who gets caught the way Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush did, keep going lower and lower and lower with Donald? And you know he wins. Or do I want a Joe Biden, who can say: Oh, stop that nonsense. Do you see what he’s talking about? This is ridiculous. And somebody like a Joe Biden can do that.

On the other hand, there’s not only the age that’s a factor, although we Boomers are showing that we are going to live forever. (Laughter.) Sorry. But it does suggest going back to the – maybe the tired old solutions. Democrats have a problem, and if it’s a young face that emerges, that problem comes standing toe to toe against Donald Trump, head to head.

MODERATOR: Time for one or two more questions. Here.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Bingru Wang with Hong Kong Phoenix TV. So historically, the sitting president’s party lose seats in the House. And even if they lose seats in the House, it doesn’t mean when they going to the re-election it may impact the result, like President Clinton and President Obama. So why everyone’s talking about the stakes are so high for President Trump? Because even if Democrats win the House, it may not impact his 2020 re-election. Is that correct?

MR ZOGBY: Yeah. I think he’s better off if the Democrats do win. It gives him a chance to run against them. Yeah, and I think he is personally at his best when he’s running against somebody who’s trying to stop his agenda. No, I think it’s not so much that the stakes are high for Donald Trump. It’s being framed as the stakes are high for the nation, and this is truly – and I’ve used this term before, unfortunately, but it really is true today: For Democrats and Republicans, this is Armageddon. If the other side wins, this is the end of the United States of America as we know it. That’s how it’s being framed.

MODERATOR: Let’s go here.

QUESTION: Oh, thank you. Karl Bergstrom with Swedish newspaper called the Expressen. Is there any scientific data, or at least any opinion indications, that the Democrats have turned more towards the left, as is sometimes said?

MR ZOGBY: In some areas they have. Certainly in big cities – New York, Detroit, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco – yes, absolutely. You have rare cases – although perhaps not so rare when you look at Beto O’Rourke in Texas, because Texas is two states. It’s the big wide-open spaces, and then it’s all those big Democratic cities. And Texas is a burgeoning blue state, just not sure if it’s this year or not, but it is. But who are the Democrats in Texas? They are left progressive in terms of the new numbers. So the parties – let’s say that the candidates that are drawing the most enthusiasm and excitement are the Sanders candidates. Middle-of-the-road mainstream candidates may have good chances to win. Democrats have done a very good job of recruiting military retirees, particularly women military retirees, but they don’t necessarily generate much enthusiasm.

QUESTION: But if the Republican Party goes further to the right and the Democrats to the left, who takes care of the middle?

QUESTION: There is no middle.

MR ZOGBY: Yeah, there is a middle. I’ve said this many times before: There is a new party waiting to be formed. It has to be the right moment, the right polar opposite candidates, and the right billionaire. This is a great country if you have a dream and a billion dollars of your own money. (Laughter.) You can succeed.

QUESTION: What is that new party like?

MR ZOGBY: What’s that new party like? Yeah, it’s a centrist, solutions-driven party, and I believe it’s a millennial-dominated political party. I think that millennials are less – though there are some high-profile supporters among millennials of Sanders – Our Revolution and his campaign – just as there are some high-profile libertarians as well, libertarians with a small l and a capital L – but by and large, millennials are looking for problem-solving. And they’re not necessarily seeing it in either party.

MODERATOR: Last question. We’ll go – do we have someone in the back? Then we’ll come to you.

QUESTION: Thank you. Juliane Schauble, Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin. You said that immigration is only the third important party issue in the election. Did this change, perhaps, in the last weeks with Trump campaigning against migrants?

MR ZOGBY: No, it was – it was always up there among the top issues. At one point, national security was up there as a major issue. But no, it’s been – it’s been number three, and it has been high intensity on both sides, but not necessarily a game-changer. Republican conservatives support the President. Liberals – and I would argue probably moderates and those suburban women that you had asked about – are really turned off by what they – what they tell us is mean-spirited.

MODERATOR: We’ll go to the last question in the front.

QUESTION: Thanks again. Straits Times, Nirmal Ghosh. Going back to the question of the left-right polarization, is there a case to be made for the whole conversation having shifted to the right? Because there have been some Democrats, for example, who have tried hard not to be progressive. In 2016 the Democrats spoke against the TPP and some of them have spoken about – have had to speak about strong borders. And of course worldwide there is a shift, you could argue, to right-wing populism. So has the whole conversation actually shifted more to the right here?

MR ZOGBY: Boy, that’s a really good question and I see it – when I see the TPP and the whole free trade issue and the opposition to those trade deals, that has long been left and right, the one area of real convergence between the two. And so on the Democratic side that’s clearly where organized labor is, but also the – what’s now the antifa and the Bernie Sanders left as well, a lot of young people, college campuses. But it was also the fuel behind Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan and – who had a pretty decent chunk of Republicans, the – and I mean this in all seriousness – the weekly Walmart shoppers, the Nascar voters, the conservative whites that were – conservative values whites that we’re talking about a lot today.

MODERATOR: I want to thank Dr. Zogby very, very much for coming in for today’s briefing.

MR ZOGBY: Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: Just a reminder, as with all our outside expert briefings, these experts speak in their personal capacities and do not necessarily represent U.S. Government policy.

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