May 8, 2018

Midterms begin today: 5 sobering stats for the House GOP

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As midterm primaries kick into high gear today, here are five signs (all Real Clear Politics averages) that the current headwinds for House Republicans could turn into a throw-out-members wave.

The bottom line: When a party is this badly under water in national sentiment and perception, individual candidates have a hard time distancing or distinguishing themselves. That's why a wave is apparent so early — 182 days before Election Day.

  1. Congressional job approval: -56% (that is: 73% disapprove, 17% approve).
  2. Approval of GOP tax cut: -7% (that is: 44% disapprove, 37% approve).
  3. Direction of the country: -18% (that is: 55% of people think the U.S. is on the wrong track, 37% think the U.S. is headed in the right direction).
  4. Trump job approval: -8 (that is: 52% disapprove, 44% approve).
  5. Generic congressional ballot: Democrats +6 (that is: 45% of respondents say they'll vote for Democrats for Congress, 39% say Republicans).

The state of play: Today's primaries are in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia. Per The New York Times' election calendar, there are a number of competitive House races on the line. But much of today's news is likely to focus on the Senate:

  • Three of those states have a vulnerable Democratic senator up for re-election (Joe Donnelly, Indiana; Sherrod Brown, Ohio; and Joe Manchin, West Virginia).
  • And President Trump has already waded into the West Virginia primary, telling GOP voters that electing demagogic Don Blankenship would guarantee Manchin's re-election.

Go deeper: Why the Senate election map is so bad for the Democrats.

Go deeper

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Health

California's "woman quota" law seems to be working

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

When California passed its boardroom law requiring public companies based there to have at least one female director, there were concerns it would spark a gold rush for the same handful of well-known women — but that hasn’t happened.

Why it matters: Of the 138 women who joined all-male California boards last year, 62% are serving on their first company board, per a study by accounting firm KPMG. That means a majority of companies aren't contributing to so-called overboarding in corporate America.