So you may have heard — possibly — that Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore in Tuesday night’s special election for the U.S. Senate in Alabama.
The victory looks all the more notable in context. Daily Kos Elections data on 68 special elections since Donald Trump’s victory show just how frequently Democratic candidates have exceeded Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in 2016.
In 63 percent (43 out of 68) of these races, the Democratic candidate’s margin was larger than Clinton’s. Across all 68 races, the average shift was 10 points in the Democrats’ favor.
In Alabama, however, the Democrats did much better: a 30-point shift. This is a larger shift than in all but nine of the previous 2017 special elections — one made even more significant because it actually elected Jones.
And the special elections don’t capture all the Democrats’ recent successes either:
2017 scoreboard:— Taniel (@Taniel) December 13, 2017
—Dems gain 1 U.S. Senate seat (AL)
—Dems gain 1 governorship (NJ)
—Dems gain 1 chamber (WA Senate)
—Dems gain full control in 2 states (NJ, WA)
—Dems sweep VA statewide
—no change in U.S. House
—Dems pick up 32 leg seats, GOP pick up 4
—Maine expands Medicaid
More often than not, success actually leads to less success and even outright failure — as voters react against the very party that won the White House only months or even weeks earlier.
But now you can see the cyclical pattern not only in these special elections but in approval of President Trump and the many issues on which overall public opinion has shifted against Trump’s position.
Now the only question is how big the shift will be in November 2018.