[Note: All Monmouth poll reports can be found at www.monmouth.edu/polling .]
The Monmouth University Poll made a commitment in the 2018 midterms to focus on a range of Congressional races that would help the public understand what factors were at play in this election. Monmouth’s polls in the final weeks of the campaign captured the trajectory of the race for control of the U.S. House. Specifically, Monmouth’s likely voter model results for four polls conducted in late October were very close to the final margins in those contests.
“We really wanted to focus on the important issues at play while conveying a reasonable range of potential outcomes. Our primary goal was not to predict results, but rather to tell an accurate story of the factors driving this election and the direction it could potentially go,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Monmouth’s polling in 13 competitive House races, plus one Senate race, depicted the unusually high levels of interest among voters this year. This includes an early Democratic enthusiasm advantage in the summer and Republicans closing that gap in the fall. In addition to the individual poll reports in these districts, Monmouth released additional analysis that gave an overview of the state of the race, first after Labor Day and again right before Election Day. These reports went beyond the “horse race” to examine the issues and dynamics at play in different regions of the country and among key voting blocs.
A notable innovation in the way Monmouth reported its findings in 2018 was showing the results for more than one potential turnout scenario. This approach pointed to a range of realistic outcomes and also conveyed the inherent uncertainty involved in election polling. These models were based on tests conducted in two special elections held earlier in the year, which accurately pointed to the dynamics in those races. Monmouth’s special election polling showed the Democrats gaining in both races over the final weeks of those campaigns, pulling ahead in the PA18 race in March, but falling short in OH12 in August.