Two polls released Sunday show Democrats with a modest but not comfortable lead in voter preference for which party controls Congress. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found a 7-percentage point lead for Democrats, 50 percent to 43 percent, down from a 9-point lead in the previous poll. A Washington Post/ABC News poll recorded an 8-point lead for Democrats, 52 percent to 44 percent, but that's down from a 13-point lead in October. In both cases, Republican base voters have become more engaged and some independents have shifted to backing the Republican.
In the most competitive House races, both polls showed Democrats with a narrower lead — 5 points for Washington Post/ABC News, 3 points for WSJ/NBC News. Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster for the WSJ/NBC News poll, compared the results to a kaleidoscope: "Turn it one way, and the numbers suggest a good Democratic night. Turn it again, and it suggests the GOP might squeak through." The GOP pollster, Bill McInturff, said the race is "more competitive," but "for Republicans, it feels slightly short of where you'd want to be for a national election.''
"Polls aren't always right," FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver said on Sunday's ABC This Week. "If polls are right you would have a split outcome," with Democrats winning the House and Republicans keeping control of the Senate. He then explained why the polls might be wrong.
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Chuck Todd highlighted the truism that the groups that turn out to vote will determine who wins.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters, including 744 likely voters, Nov. 1-3, and its margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points among registered voters, ±3.53 points among likely voters. The Washington Post/ABC News poll was conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in English and Spanish by Langer Research Associates. It surveyed 1,041 registered voters and had a margin of sampling error of ±3.5 points. Peter Weber