According to a new Politico poll Democrats are in trouble… maybe. Frankly, it is a bit tough to tell if there is any really useful data from the survey.

Politico decided to poll likely voters across the country in the “most competitive races.” It found in the House and Senate races they labeled “competitive” on average likely voters favored Republicans 41 percent to 34 percent for Democrats in the generic ballot. How exactly this is helpful for telling us about the current state of politics I really can’t say.

Polling individual races is very useful for the obvious reason that it indicates the likely outcome to those particular contests. Similarly, national polling allows us to compare result against decades of data to get a very good general sense of where voters stand. But polling voters across a selection of so-called competitive places doesn’t seem to have much use, since there is no real reference point. Even the term “competitive” feels very arbitrary because they decided to include the Virgina Senate race despite Sen. Mark Warner holding a massive lead.

The poll show likely voters in these “competitive races” skew more Republican and more conservative on issues than the nation as a whole, but anyone could have told you that already by just looking on the Senate map. Many of the competitive Senate races are incumbent Democrats trying to hold on in red states and these Democrats have already proven they can noticeably outperform a generic Democrat in their states.

It is tough to tell if these polling results are actually “bad” for the Democratic party or exactly what you would expect given the universe of voters being surveyed..

The poll mainly confirms that this election is being fought on unfavorable turf for Democrats but everyone already knows that.

Photo by Colleen Morgan under Creative Commons license