2018 may be a blowout year for Democrats, pollster John Zogby forecasts


The Democratic party in the United States may likely capture the House of Representatives and Senate in November, taming President Donald Trump, and sending a reassuring message to an international community already wary of an erratic American leader who seems to be disrupting the same world order the U.S. helped build and sustain for the past 70 years, pollster John Zogby, predicted on Wednesday.

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The victory may likely come from young women energized by The #MeToo Movement, the 84 million millennials and 78 million baby boomers in the United States concerned about gun control, and teachers who want better wages, as well as from non-whites and undecided voters who fear rightly or wrongly that the world may come to an end should President Trump be emboldened further.

But Mr. Zogby, the founder and senior partner of John Zogby Strategies, quickly pointed out that victory was not certain for the Democrats and the Republicans were not out and down yet, especially as the economy continues to grow and America goes to work again.

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President Trump’s approval rating, he added, has also solidified around 44 to 45 percent, a 10-point jump from last year, an indication Americans see things are gradually improving.

In addition, his base has continued to unite behind him, no matter the myriad of scandals, from the Russia investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to an alleged marathon sexual encounter with porn star Stormy Daniels.

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But for now, and only for now, he said, things are looking good for Democrats who boast of several advantages and have won seven out of eight House elections since Mr. Trump went from a bombastic businessman and reality TV celebrity in New York to a disruptive, divisive and iconoclast leader in the Oval office in Washington D.C.

Pollster John Zogby addresses foreign journalists at a news conference in the Washington Foreign Press Center on 13 June 2018. Photo: Simon Ateba

Mr. Zogby, who addressed foreign journalists at a news conference in the Washington Foreign Press Center, predicted that the elections would be won or lost by the millennials and baby boomers who are likely to vote Democrats but may decide to stay home if not well energized.

Healthcare, he said, is the number one issue for Democrats while immigration tops the chart for Republicans, most of them whites and old folks who see a country switching from majority white to minority white.

“Today – and I can only speak for today with a little more certainty – most signs do point to a very, very good Democratic year in 2018.  And I think that the Democrats come into this year with several very large advantages,” he said. “On the other hand, the Republicans are not down and out just yet”.

Below are excerpts of the press conference by Mr. Zogby on Wednesday June 13, 2018, at the Washington Foreign Press in Washington D.C.

MR ZOGBY:  Okay, good.  All right.  So I’m going to entitle this, “Do Not Take Your Navy Blue Crayon Out Yet and Color the Political Map Blue.”  I’m not ready to make that prediction yet.  And blue, of course, is Democrat.

Today – and I can only speak for today with a little more certainty – most signs do point to a very, very good Democratic year in 2018.  And I think that the Democrats come into this year with several very large advantages.

First advantage for the Democrats:  Historically, new presidents do lose seats in their first off-year election.

Secondly, if we just take where we are right now, there were seven House of Representatives seats that were Republican that have switched to Democrat already this year.  Democrats have won seven out of eight, in fact, and even the eighth where a Democrat traditionally, in Georgia, would have no chance whatsoever, it was a very close race.  And of course, the Democrats did win a special Senate election in Alabama.  So that’s the second advantage, that the Democrats are winning.

The third is, if you look at California, where there were seven Republican House races and Democrats just needed to get on the ballot and be in the top two, Democrats achieved that.  And so they are in a position to take over some, most, perhaps all those seven seats in California.

The fourth advantage:  Democrats have many very appealing candidates that are attractive not only to Democrats but also to moderates, without alienating the base.  They’ve – in addition to selecting a record number of women to be standard bearers, and not only in – for the House and the U.S. Senate, but in state legislatures as well, they’re choosing military veterans and people who can run with and appeal in a crossover way to more, shall we say, conservative or moderate voters.

The fifth advantage Democrats have is that the Obama coalition, the winning coalition, seems to be alive thus far.  Translated, that means that Barack Obama won two presidential elections, putting together a coalition of young, especially young women voters, nonwhite voters, particularly – well, not only Hispanics but also huge numbers of African American voters and Asian voters.  So far, we see that that Democratic base, which had been absent in 2010 and 2014, and even to some degree in 2016, appears to be alive and well and energized, at least thus far in 2018.

The sixth advantage that the Democrats have:  There’s a huge gender gap, massive gender gap.  And as I just mentioned, a record number of women candidates, young women candidates, and young women voters are coming out to vote, and that is a key for any Democratic victory.  Add to that the Me Too movement and a sense as if the other side, Republicans should win, that it’s the end of the world as we know it – Democratic women, moderate women are coming out to vote.

And finally, in terms of a Democratic advantage, in every poll that I’ve seen thus far or done thus far, the number one issue is health care.  And health care, while Republicans will cite it as an issue too for different reasons, it’s the number one issue for Democrats and it is an issue that many Democratic voters feel is under siege, and with good reason.  That brings people out to vote.

Because I’m a two-handed pollster:  On the other hand, the Republicans are not down and out just yet.  Let’s look at some key Republican advantages coming in, and they’re not insignificant.

The first is, unemployment is at 3.8 percent.  Many of us never thought we’d see that kind of number ever again.  Doesn’t matter – well, it – obviously it does matter that not all those jobs are good jobs or great jobs or even full-time jobs.  The bottom line is America is working again, and the best way to get a better job is to have a job.  And record numbers of Americans are working.  Wages are up as well, and that is significant.  Now, it all depends how you define wages, but if we use the standard metrics that we’ve always used, wages are going up pretty much every month during this year of – well, late 2017, 2018.  The GDP is up.  In other words, the barometric readings that we traditionally use to measure the economy, the signs are pointing up.

In addition to that, and this is significant, young people are getting jobs now.  And so the 2007, 2008 recession seems to be over.  Again, these may not be dream jobs that young people are getting, but they’re getting jobs and now can begin to think of a career or the next step, or for that matter, investments of some sort.

Second Republican advantage is a barometric reading that we pollsters have used that Gallup developed in the 1960s and we all use the very same question: Do you think that things in the United States are going in the right direction, or are they off on the wrong track?  And 38 percent say that things are headed in the right direction.  Now that’s not a good number, but it was 29 and 30, and so that means that it’s gone up 10 percentage points or a third.  And there’s a sense, then, at least by more Americans that things are better than they were.

The third advantage that Republicans have is that the President’s job approval rating has solidified, at least for now, in the mid-forties. About 44, 45 percent.  You know if you watch the aggregators like RealClearPolitics or so on, you’ll have a range – Rasmussen is up 48, 49, 50; Gallup is down 40, 41, 42.  The average is about 44, 45.  And I must tell you, in all honesty, and I have – traditionally I have maintained my democratic registration, generally will vote Democrat, but as a pollster I’m more inclined to trust the Rasmussen numbers than I am the Gallup numbers, and that’s simply because I find that Gallup and Pew and a number of the other really well-known pollsters too often underrepresent Democrats in their sampling and that’s just not America.  Sometimes they will come out with polls within their sample 24 percent, 28 percent Republican.  That’s not the America I know.  Those of you who drove out to Virginia, just go anywhere where the grass is green, people have backyards or there’s farms, you’re in Republican country and this is not a 24, 28 Republican.  It’s also a nice ride, too.  (Laughter.)

The President gets a 50 percent rating on handling the economy, 42 percent on handling foreign policy, and I suspect that his numbers on handling foreign policy are going to go up in terms of public perception.

The fourth Republican advantage – this one’s a little nuanced.  We all use that congressional generic number:  Who would you vote for today in your congressional district, the Democrat or the Republican?  It’s not a meaningless number.  In my history of doing this kind of work for almost 35 years now, for Democrats to pick up seats, they need to have a five-point lead in that congressional generic.  That’s just the way that the districts are structured.  Right now they lead by six to seven percentage points over the Republicans.

The good news is the – for the Democrats is that they lead.  The not-so-good news is, that doesn’t measure quite yet into picking up 17 seats to take over the House.  To give you an example, when the Republicans won a huge number of seats in 2010, 63 seats, Republicans had an 11-point lead in the polls, which is – if you factor in what the Democrats need in order to pick up seats, that’s like the Republicans leading by 16 points.  And so Democrats are not quite there yet.

The fifth advantage the Republicans have, even in this milieu right now – and that’s our Foreign Press Center word of the day, milieu.  I don’t often get to use that word.  (Laughter.)  If you look at the U.S. Senate seats that are in play – Florida, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Nevada, North Dakota, Montana – all of those right now are one or two-point seats.  It’s just too close to call.  One would think that is – if this is definitely going to be a big Democratic year, those would be big Democratic leads.  Those are competitive.

Congress.  This is another Republican advantage, believe it or not.  Congress gets, right now, an average 17-point percentage positive job approval.  17 percent.  Why am I calling this a Republican advantage?  Because American voters don’t have faith in either party.  So there is a sense out there that I want to throw the bums out, but I don’t know who the bigger bums are.  And this is a deeper conversation, but right now suffice it to say neither party has captured the hearts and minds of a majority of voters at the moment.

The last advantage – are their seatbelts that you can put on?  (Laughter)  The Republicans have real problems to be sure, but there base is consolidating under President Trump.  In fact, the most dangerous thing that any Republican can do, it appears, is to criticize his or her own president.  Boy did we see that yesterday.  Mark Sanford in the 1st District lost his bid to – because he didn’t have Trump’s – he not only didn’t have Trump’s support, Trump actively tweeted against him.  Think of the words that I’m using, actively tweeted against him.  I don’t want to live in this world anymore – (laughter) – actively tweeted against him.  All right.  I’ll be okay.

But you also saw in Virginia – my God, that was an earthquake – Corey Stewart — am I allowed to say this guy’s nuts?  Yeah, I mean Corey Stewart – I’m not allowed to say that, and I’m not representing the U.S. State Department by using those words.  But anyway, Corey Stewart who is – has really run a very disturbing campaign won by backing President Trump.

All right, where do – those are the advantages, disadvantages.  Where do we stand today?  The best poll that I have seen out thus far is the CBS News Battleground Tracking Poll that came out just about a week ago.  And their projection as of now is that, if the election were held today, Democrats would win 219 seats.  It takes 218 to get a majority in the House.  Republicans would win 216 seats.  Now CBS claims there’s a nine-seat plus or minus margin of error.  It’s enough just simply to suggest this is just too soon and so many things can happen.

Democrats, according to this poll, as I mentioned, will be driven by healthcare.  That is the number one thing by far that voters who lean Democrat say is a determining factor in their voting Democrat.  By far it’s healthcare, and Republicans did not help their cause with either Democrats or with moderate voters by just the other day coming out against probably the most popular feature of Obamacare, which is coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.

So what else is driving those who say that they will vote Democrat?  Income inequality is the second-biggest issue.  Education and teachers’ salaries are a big issue.  Now, if you’re inclined to wonder, well, that’s a local issue, one of the most powerful unions and largest – among the largest unions in this country, and union means capacity to get people out to vote – are teachers’ unions.  And remember, teachers have an average of 28 people that they influence every single day, which in many instances are 28 to 56 parents, and so on.  So that – good jobs and then I think importantly, as I mentioned, also the Me Too movement as well is a driving force.

This is a battle not just simply between or about simple numbers, like who’s ahead and who is behind.  Remember elections are a battle of intensity.  The side that has the most intense support is the side that will be sure that it vote – its vote comes out.  Right now, these are factors – health care, Me Too, income inequality – that could bring Democrats out.

Interestingly, and this is a troublesome sign for the Democrats in the CBS poll, when those leaning Democrat were asked, “What is motivating you more than anything else to vote Democrat.  Is it because you’re voting for the Democratic Party?”  51 percent said yes.  Or, “are you voting against Donald Trump?”  49 percent said they’re voting against Donald Trump.  Now, in a minute, I’ll explain why that’s potentially troubling – well, I’ll tell you right now, in fact.  If the economy continues to – in an upward spiral, unemployment kind of settles itself where it is right now, wages continue to go up, young people continue to get hired, that could dampen some anti-Trump feeling, that could dampen some enthusiasm for turning out to vote against Trump.  Just some things to watch.

How about Republican voters?  According to the CBS poll, their number-one issue is immigration.  You see that some really want to resolve this issue, and right now, it’s not being resolved.  Jobs and wages are another issue.  When Republican-leaning voters were asked why are they voting Republican, 73 percent said they’re voting for Trump and GOP, 27 percent voting against the Democrats.  Very interesting.

All right.  So in conclusion, here are some things that we know today.  Number one, surprise, Donald Trump is the disruptor-in-chief, and he’s unconventional, erratic, anti-elite, and frankly, that is working for him right now.  The best thing that can happen to him, and I learned this – anyone ever hear the name Saul Alinsky?  The famous community organizer in Chicago, who – and one of his most famous proteges was a young man named Barack Obama who was a community organizer.  But Saul Alinsky, as he organized communities for change, used to relate to the principle that, when you’re the little people and you’re holding up signs and they’re anti-elite, you start to win once the elite bites back and starts attacking you.  And so this is a message to your colleagues like at CNN and New York Times:  Instead of whining and complaining and giving blanket 24-hour coverage to “See what he said today, see what he did today,” ignore him for a day.  Ignore him for a day.  But Trump is the disruptor-in-chief and it is working.  Let’s not pretend otherwise.

Number two, we continue to see it:  His approval ratings within his own party are high.  If you look today, 87 percent of Republicans give him a positive approval rating.  What’s that mean?  At this point in his presidency, Barack Obama had a 79 percent rating among Democrats.  The only president at this point in time in the presidency to outscore Donald Trump was George W. Bush at 95 percent, and of course, by this point in time, we had launched the war in Iraq.  Ronald Reagan wasn’t this high.  Jack Kennedy wasn’t this high.  The GOP is the party of Trump.

So here’s what I say in conclusion:  Look for the Democrats to pick up seats in November.  I’m not sure yet that they pick up 17 seats to win back the House.  And that’s it.  Thank you.

So I will now recognize and that – will we be able to see or hear somebody in New York?

MODERATOR:  They will come to the podium.

MR ZOGBY:  Oh, I see.  I see the mikes now.

MODERATOR:  (Off-mike.)

MR ZOGBY:  Okay.  Yes, right in front here, and then in the back.

MODERATOR:  Please identify yourself and your outlet.

QUESTION:  Okay.  My name is Simon Ateba from Today News Africa.  I know you talked about health care and other issues that may determine the 2018 midterm election.  Where do you see issues such as gun control – one second – yeah, where do you see issues such as gun control, immigration, Trump, Russia investigation, and the silent voters who – the three million people who – more who voted for Hillary Clinton and who feel maybe angry that Trump is in power?

MR ZOGBY:  Okay.  I’m going to take those piece by piece.  Gun control will get a highly energized pro-gun rights vote to come out, no net gain.  Those who are anti-gun also happen to be anti-Trump and liberal, progressive, and they’re going to come out to vote.  The key here is that — advantage Democrats – this is the sort of thing that’s going to bring Gen-Z and younger millennials out to vote, and to vote for gun control – or to vote for candidates more than likely to support gun control.

So I wrote a piece right after Parkland, and then another piece after that for Forbes.  This, for Generation Z, Parkland was – is their Pearl Harbor.  That in many ways this is an issue that defines their generation.  The lack of personal safety is paramount, but also the fact that these are kids that are – have not grown up with political role models, or with a sense that government is there to serve me.  And so this’ll be a critical issue, I believe strongly, that they will vote.

I heard you say immigration.  Immigration —

QUESTION:  Yeah, Russia.

MR ZOGBY:  Russia, okay.  First of all, Russia – Russia is a net-zero here.  Those who believe in Donald Trump, though, that 87 percent support that he has among his own party, are just simply inclined to say nothing happened, it’s all a conspiracy, it’s fake news.  Those who hate Donald Trump will say the exact opposite.  In terms of it being an issue, you – those who are already energized can’t possibly become even more energized to turn out to vote, and frankly, that’s pretty much what you’re going to see in immigration as well.  Immigration is going to be one of those dividing issues that’s ultimately going to be a net-zero.

Were there others?

QUESTION:  And do you see people – more people coming out to vote, the three million people who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016?

MR ZOGBY:  So far, yes, and that’s a big advantage for the Democrats, more people turning out to vote.  By the same token, when I hear Christian conservatives saying about Donald Trump and his alleged behavior the same sort of things that I used to hear nuns excusing Bill Clinton for his behavior, it tells me that it’s just simply going to be a wash, that in other words both sides are going to get their vote out.

Who in the middle?  Who is going to capture the middle?  So far, it looks like the Democrats, on the basis of the kinds of candidates and the strings of – string of victories.  On the other hand, we cannot play down the economy either.  There was a question here.

QUESTION:  Hi, good morning.  My name is Estelita.  I’m from Brazil, Folha de Sao Paulo.  I was wondering, you mentioned the President Trump role in this election, which will be significant.  What about the recent events in his foreign policy, especially yesterday’s Kim-Trump summit?  Will there be, like, a – I don’t know, a summit bump in his approval rate maybe and that might influence the outcomes of the elections?

MR ZOGBY:  A very good question.  I think the polls are, give or take a few points, pretty much settled at about mid-40s.  So you’ll see Trump here and there go down to 42, maybe go up to 46 or 47.  I don’t see a scenario at all where I ever see Donald Trump with a 52 or 55 percent rating.  However, what I do see is that there will probably be a bump.  It’s dominated the media.  He knows how to dominate the media.  He knows how to be the center of every discussion.  He’s the – what did they used to say – the groom at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral.  And in that sense, he will always be talked about.

But peacemaker?  Negotiator?  I promised you that I’d be a dealmaker, and I wrote the book, and now look at what I’ve done.  Those are the sorts of things that he can package that could help him pick up a couple of points here or there.  It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens with Iran now.

Yes, okay.  This one and then one, two, three, like that.  And then – so this one, one, two, three, four.  Okay.

QUESTION:  AbdelRahman Youssef, Al-Modon, Lebanese.  Actually, it’s like completing this point.  What about trade war, like —

MR ZOGBY:  What about?

QUESTION:  Trade war?  Trade war, like he – yeah, yesterday was like Kim-Trump summit, but previous day it’s like G7 photo that we all shoot (inaudible).  So how this photo — how will this, like, relation with Canada and Germany and American allies impact upon the —

MR ZOGBY:  That is a great question, and this is how I understand it.  He is anti-elite and America first, and he got elected and there is a base – not only within the Republican Party, the old Pat Buchanan base – that’s also to some degree a bit of the Bernie Sanders base.  What fuels that is not only the imbalance on trade or the ultra-nationalism, but Trump is seen, I believe, and I’ve written on this, as the bully to end all bullying.  When he stands up to the G7, there is a base in this country that says, “Well, they’re all no good anyway, and they’re taking advantage of the United States.”  There’s support there.  It’s not only unions.  This is psychological as well.

For him then to turn around and continue that theme by saying, in effect, “What’s the worst thing I can possibly do after I have just disrespected our most important allies in the world?  I can sit down with a dictator and say he’s handsome, beautiful, charming.”  And so this fuels Donald Trump, and psychologically, which is not one of my fields – just as an observer – psychologically, that is a way of understanding the support base that he has.

Remember, he got elected because people were angry, frustrated, had a hard time dealing with turbulent, massive changes in their world, and this is how a fellow like Donald Trump, with that kind of personality and that kind of capacity to express in the simplest terms that anger and rage – that’s populism, and it happens to be catching on elsewhere.

Does that help?


MR ZOGBY:  Okay.

QUESTION:  Hi, I’m Zhang Qi with China’s Caixin Media.  Actually, I was going to just ask about trade war as well, but I’m wondering, would you say that – because now it seems like Trump’s supporting for Republican candidate is very important.  Do you think that will make them reluctant to speak against him in terms (inaudible) every respect of his policy, and that would give him less constraint from within his party?

MR ZOGBY:  Yes.  In a nutshell, I – first of all, we see those – notably, in the Senate, Bob Corker from Tennessee and Jeff Flake from Arizona – saying they’re not going to run for that reason.  But then, as you watch his candidates winning Republican primaries – and I think especially Mark Sanford in South Carolina who lost yesterday.  Mark Sanford has had his own persona, for 20-plus years was the governor of South Carolina, and then won re-election again – or won election to the House and re-election.  And to see an important figure in South Carolina and Republican politics like Mark Sanford go down, yeah, I think the handwriting is on the wall for Republican candidates.  Yeah, I think they’re going to be — well, when the President’s got an 87 percent approval rating from his own party, there’s just very little room to attack him.

Always remember, this is the number-one rule, you learn this on the playground in grade school:  Only beat a kid up when he’s down, not when – not when he’s – oh, I don’t know.  Sorry about that.  (Laughter.)

QUESTION:  Karl Doemens.  I’m with Frankfurter Rundschau and Berliner Zeitung from Germany.  I have two questions if I may, two short ones.  First, for years, the Republican voters, they voted for the Republican Party because it was a party which was standing for democracy, for free trade, for whatever, and now the President is doing exactly the opposite.  I mean, he is sitting down with dictators and he’s talking very bad about the allies, and so – so what happened to these voters?  Did they simply disappear?  Did they change their belief?

And the second one, about the active tweeting, which you mentioned, it obviously worked in South Carolina, but it was not that successful in Alabama, if you remember, with Roy Moore.  So what was the reason?  In which places does the President have an impact, and which places he has not, obviously?

MR ZOGBY:  Well, let’s say the second question first.  It doesn’t help to be backing a candidate who’s chasing after prepubescent teenagers in shopping malls, okay?  (Laughter.)  I’m trying to boil this down into simplest terms.  Roy Moore was damaged, okay?  So, but I – but I think his tweeting obviously – Roy Moore was competitive up to a point.

What happened to the Republican Party?  A number of things.  Overall, the party – we’re in a process of realignment, and we’re not sure where the dust is going to settle.  But clearly, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the Republican Party is becoming more and more and more the conservative party and pushing out moderates.  There was a time when you had moderate, even for that matter liberal, Republicans in the party, and this is not new.  Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, that element of the party was purged.  Regionally, it’s hard to find a moderate Republican in the Northeast – or, for that matter, in the Midwest as well.

Not surprisingly, then, when it becomes simply the conservative party, it broke down into four separate wings, none of whom ever really got along with each other.  You have the Rand and Ron Paul anti-statists, who are not insignificant.  You have the Newt Gingrich – who we’ll call kind of like the opportunist/small government folks.  You have the Christian conservatives, and then you have a kind of a more establishment conservative, the Bush family, for example.  And you can see that there are times when they can coalesce, but more and more, after – especially after the George W. Bush presidency, a number of those wings abandoned George W.  They certainly abandoned John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney as well.

But I think clearly what’s happened is this element of populism, which, as you know, is a worldwide movement, and the sense that folks had such high expectations for Barack Obama and felt let down and dashed and enraged – wages going down, America becoming a majority – or on the way toward becoming a majority minority.  Traditional Americans, America first, who grew up in the so-called American century now seeing, hey, there are other powers in the world, and flashing our military might doesn’t win automatically like the perception was that it always used to.  I guess it’s not hard to see in retrospect.  But I think the Republican Party is in severe crisis, has no appeal to younger voters under 35, and what sustains them is I don’t think the Democratic Party is in very good shape either, frankly, and that’s a whole other conversation.

There was one back there, and then you over here, and then you.

QUESTION:  Casper Thomas from the Netherlands, (inaudible).  What in your mind is the number one thing Trump can do to chip away at that 87 percent, or from his perspective, what he should avoid doing?  And I’m afraid you’ll answer “absolutely nothing,” but I’m keen to hear your view.

MR ZOGBY:  (Laughter.)  Well, I – firing Mueller.  Let’s go right for the top here.  That – I – as part of the anti-elite and the anti – the anti-establishment, that would consolidate quite a large amount of his support.  But I think that they’re kind of the latecomers to Donald Trump support, and then for those who are not yet supporting him among more moderate voters, that could be a nail in the coffin.  That would be just a bit too much.  What else – my God, I mean, he’s really pushed every button and gone over every barrier, frankly.  Somebody asked me once about sex scandals and Donald Trump, and they said, “Is he a Teflon president?”  You know Teflon.  I said, “No, no, no.  There’s so much crud on the pan that just pouring more crud in the pan doesn’t have any impact at all.”  You know what you get with Donald Trump, and 87 percent of the GOP are okay with that, I suppose.

And in the interests of fairness, I think it’s the same thing with Bill Clinton.  I mean, what could possibly be shocking?  Was that fair?

Tom.  Oh, I’m sorry, no, no, no.  She – yeah.

QUESTION:  Okay, thank you.

MR ZOGBY:  Sure.

QUESTION:  Beatriz Navarro with the Spanish daily La Vanguardia from Barcelona.  You didn’t mention the demographic changes in the country as a factor playing in these elections, those trends that are shaping, changing the face of the country.


QUESTION:  I was in Virginia yesterday; it’s part of this change.  Don’t you think it will play a role yet?

MR ZOGBY:  I do, and you’re right.  I kind of briefly alluded to it by saying that the Obama coalition seemed to be alive and well, and that is the key element.  So just to spell that out, you’re talking about Latinos and Asians in all 50 states, and in those battleground states that are so competitive, one percentage point – well, look at all those battleground states that I said were one point.  Obviously, if those voters turn out – now, what compounds that is that if you look simply at millennials alone, 61 percent of millennials are non-white.  So if millennials turn out to vote, hence so do non-whites, and non-whites are not voting Republican.

Now, let’s add to that element – and just picture this – Generation Z, who are in their teens and early 20s.  Now, picture the Parkland kids.  Parkland kids are mixed.  They – Gen Z already is 48 percent white, 52 percent non-white.  So if they turn out to vote, this could be a big blowout year for the Democrats.  But I want and I think need to be balanced.  So far, I think if the election were today, that certainly is on the table.  It could help.  But, look, I am watching that economy as well.

Yes, now Tom, and then one, two.  Oh, you, and then Tom, and then one, two.  Go ahead.  Oh, go ahead, Tom, and then we’ll —

QUESTION:  Thomas Gorguissian with Al Ahram, Egypt.  John, the question is – you mentioned the Me Too movement and the women as candidates and as voter.  It’s something people – a lot of people are talking about it.  How do you see their role, how their influence in the coming elections in particular?  Because 2016 was different.  Whether it’s because of being white, because of being conservative, women were, let’s say, divided about many issues.  So the woman factor.

And the second one, I still want to know from – beside the millennial, this – the non-white voters, because it’s a factor that in the last at least three, four elections we are talking about it.  How do you see – is there any development?  Are – they’re apolitical, or they are political but they are divided, or what’s going on with this, especially with the brown?  So —

MR ZOGBY:  Okay.  Those are all good questions.  I’m trying to organize my answer.  First of all, Me Too.  So we started to hear as far back as 2008 – do you remember when Hillary won the New Hampshire primary?  And she’d been down in the polls, but she started to gain, and then ultimately into that day, a lot of women 45 years of age and older.  And now in New Hampshire, you can vote in either primary.  Those who were going to vote for McCain switched over and voted for Hillary, and what older women were saying was, “We saw that this is the last time in our lifetime that we could achieve this, and so we switched and we voted for Hillary.”  At the same time, when we polled younger women, they said, “My college president’s a woman, my mayor is a woman, my boss is a woman.  I don’t – I’m not sure yet I like this woman.”

And eight years later, that was the critical factor.  Yes, a woman, but is this the woman that I want?  This time around, women appear to be voting as if their lives depended on it, and that means a stab against patriarchy, against the ugliest effects of patriarchy.  And so you have a lot of women who are running for the very first time, maybe even involved in politics the very first time.  And they’re running and they’re winning, and they’re bringing women out to vote – I think, in particular – and I alluded to this – younger women.

Non-whites, you’ve got a variety of reasons.  Latinos are obvious.  Remember, the fastest-growing element among Latino voters are self-described conservatives.  I mean, you can take a ride through any big city or little city; you’re going to see so many storefront iglesias, churches, that are not Catholic.  They are Christian fundamentalist, and yet, when Republicans take a stand against illegal immigration, Latinos define that as anti-Latino.  And so, you’ve seen big votes for Democrats.  I mean, I wouldn’t – if I were Donald Trump, I would not be bragging about the fact that he got 30 percent of the Latino vote.  Republicans need 36, 38 percent of a Latino vote in order to win.

As far as Asians are concerned – and that’s everyone from Filipinos to Iranians, are Asians – so finding the common denominator is something.  But Asians, 70 plus percent vote Democrat.  So the more non-whites who turn out to vote, the more assurance Democrats have of winning.  These were groups that Hillary had a hard time persuading.  Young blacks and young Latinos did not come out to vote for her in the numbers that they had come out to vote for Obama, previous two elections.

And then typically, non-whites have not voted in the off-year elections, and Millennials haven’t.  You look at – if you look at 2008 and 2012, the turnouts by demographic, and do side-by-side 2010 and 2014, you’re looking at two completely different electorates.  Two completely different electorates, much older, much whiter, much more conservative.  So this year, unless there are more and more scandals and Me Too type scandals among Democrats – and look, that can always, always happen – I think you’ll see a larger vote among young women.  That’s where it stands today, but the economy is always the caveat.

QUESTION:  Just a point of clarification.  What are the priorities or the list of the priorities for a woman voter?

MR ZOGBY:  The list of priorities?  That’s a simple one, the same thing as men.  Yes, oh no, no – healthcare, education – and this time, we hear teacher salaries.  But Me Too is up there, but it’s always – what we used to refer to as the softer issues, the domestic kinds of issues.

Yes.  Oh, yup.

QUESTION:  Thanks.  My name is Sofia, I’m here with the German Press Agency.  And you mentioned this a few times, but I wanted to ask about it specifically.  So several sources are saying that the Millennials are now the largest voting block, and several of the Gen-Z voters are turning 18 or 21 and being allowed to vote.  So especially in the context of increased access to technology and increasing liberalism of higher education, and acknowledging that younger voters are some of the voters that don’t turn out for elections, especially midterm elections, how influential do you think these Millennial and Generation Z voters will be in these elections?

MR ZOGBY:  Very simple in one sentence: if they turn out to vote, pivotal.  If they don’t turn out to vote, pivotal.  So as I have been suggesting to people when I talk about Millennials and Gen-Z, we’re not talking anymore about, oh an interesting, intriguing little group of young people who are here today and gone tomorrow.  No, we’re talking – there’s 84 million Millennials in the United States, and 78 million Baby Boomers.  I mean, this has far surpassed – in terms of Gen-Z, we don’t have a good handle on the numbers of Gen-Z, and certainly not Gen-Z voters for obvious reasons, it’s too soon.  But Gen-Z isn’t done yet, and I only count people in an age cohort when they’re 18.  I don’t – try not to – try to pigeonhole them at 15 or 16.  But, yeah, the bottom line is, they do not trust existing systems, existing patterns of decision making.  They don’t trust hierarchies; they don’t trust the slowness of getting things done.

And they’re on the cusp of either being the most important political force in the country today and into the future, or lost.  And by lost I mean just deciding not to vote, in which case all of that energy goes off into philanthropy and other directions.  I choose to think that they’re going to be huge.  I choose to think that you’re going to see boycotts by millions the first couple of days of school, and that’s the fall, and that’s teachers.  I mean, I guess what I’m saying is that it could – it still can be a blowout in terms of – in terms of a Democratic victory.  But I’m hesitant to predict that, because the economy is a factor, and then I don’t know if there’s anything that’s going to generate an enormous amount of distrust.  So for example, if Gen-Z is not able to get its issues on the agenda, do they say, “That’s it, doesn’t matter?”

Okay, you’ve had one.  There are two back here that have had their hands up, so is that —

MODERATOR:  Should we go to —

MR ZOGBY:  Would you?  Yes, and then I’ll get you.  I’ll break the rules and you’ll be (inaudible).

QUESTION:  Nikolay Zimin, Russian news agency Interfax.  Let’s go back to the Senate race for a moment.

MR ZOGBY:  Which one?

QUESTION:  I mean —

MR ZOGBY:  All of them.

QUESTION:  — as a whole process.  Do you see any chance Democrat can take over Senate in this cycle?

MR ZOGBY:  Yes, if there is a huge turnout as I’ve described.  If it becomes a wave in other words, and more than likely a Me Too/anti-Trump wave that brings out young people.  Here’s what I’d look out for: it’s not only that these are one or two-point races, but in most of them, the incumbents are polling 41 or 42 percent, and that’s always troubling.  If an incumbent, who’s already been serving, has been in office – Claire McCaskill is one example, in Missou; Joe Donnelly in Indiana – if well-known figures are polling that low, that just simply doesn’t bode well.  It doesn’t make it automatic.  Question in the back?

QUESTION:  Hi, I’m David Smith of The Guardian.  Apologies if you touched on this earlier.  I’m just interested in the issue of impeachment.  Do you think the Democrats will say, “Hey if we win, we’re going to impeach Trump,” or is that going to divide the party and conversely, is that going to be a real rallying point for Republicans to turn out their base, with the warning, “Hey look, if you vote Democratic, you might get impeachment.”

MR ZOGBY:  As they say in all of the law shows when you watch courtroom battles, asked and answered.  You – I don’t think a party ever gains, number one, by promising more turbulence in a turbulent era.  Elect us, we’re going to turn this world upside down, inside out — not a good one.  Secondly, that fuels Donald Trump.  Donald Trump as victim, that’s – he plays that card.  I mean he plays it very, very well.  I think we’ll just sort of leave it at that. You want to get your question in real quick?

MODERATOR:  One last one.

MR ZOGBY:  That’s it.

QUESTION:  I just wanted to go further on trade war.  As you say, EU’s retaliation measures are targeting higher-ranking Republican Senators state, and also China’s retaliation measures are targeting soy beans, the farmers, the main base for Trump.

MR ZOGBY:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  How much influence are you say they are?  And how about the multinationals, as they have big lobby power, which would have more power, influence on the Republicans?

MR ZOGBY:  Oh good, end with an easy question, I like that.  Yeah, that could be very troublesome with farmers, that’s a bedrock base for the Republicans.  In terms of corporations, when we think of corporations, we have to think of the thousands of people that work for those corporations and being influenced by a fear perhaps of retaliation and losing domestic jobs.  Now, is Donald Trump using all of this for negotiating?  I don’t know.  He promised us during the Republican debates, he’s not going to let us know what he’s thinking beforehand, the better negotiator does that.  We’ll see.

MODERATOR:  I wanted to thank Mr. Zogby for coming here today.

MR ZOGBY:  Thank you.

MODERATOR:  And just a reminder that experts invited to the FPC offer their views in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the United States Government.  So thank you again for coming.

MR ZOGBY:  Thank you again.


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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com


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