Democrats' Lead Over Republicans Halves in Run-up to Midterms, Poll Finds

A new poll shows support for Democratic candidates in the upcoming midterms halving from the beginning to the end of September.

A Quinnipiac University poll, cited on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, had the Democratic lead over Republicans on the question of "Who would you support?" at +7.

The poll was carried out between September 27 and 30. A poll on the same question taken between September 6-9 had the Democratic lead at +14.

A possible cause of the lead's narrowing is the galvanizing effect on Republicans of the Brett Kavanaugh ordeal.

Kavanaugh, a U.S. Circuit Appeals Court judge, is President Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court.

But Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation process has been rocked by allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, allegations he has denied.

Democrats have pushed back hard against Kavanaugh's confirmation, while Republicans have fought to keep the confirmation on track.

The FBI conducted a background investigation of some of the allegations against Kavanaugh, and sent its reports to the White House early Thursday morning. "They are being transmitted to the Senate," said White House spokesman Raj Shah in a statement. "With this additional information, the White House is fully confident the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court."

Trump has flitted between distancing himself from and defending Kavanaugh. He used a rally to mock the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, one of Kavanaugh's accusers, who alleged the judge drunkenly forced her into a room, groped her, tried to remove her clothing and held his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming. Kavanaugh denied the incident took place.

"I think the president and the circumstances have turned Brett Kavanaugh into a proxy for Donald Trump," Howard Fineman, NBC News analyst, said on Hardball.

"And it appears to Republican voters who like Donald Trump that the president himself is under siege because the guy on the Hill, who is him in legal clothing, so to speak, is under attack."

Democrats hope to ride the wave of anti-Trump sentiment and retake control of at least the House of Representatives, if not the Senate too, though the latter is a lot less likely.

There are currently 235 Republicans to 193 Democrats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the Republican majority is considerably tighter, with 51 Republicans to 49 in the Democratic caucus.

According to FiveThirtyEight's polling tracker for the midterm elections, Democrats lead Republicans by an average of 49.3 percent to 41.3 percent.

And its tracker of Donald Trump's approval rating shows an average of 52.6 percent disapprove of his presidency compared with 41.9 percent who approve.

Donald Trump midterms
President Donald Trump arrives at a Make America Great Again rally at Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi, on October 2. The Democrats' lead over Republicans has halved ahead of the midterm elections, according to a new poll. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images