It may be “the economy stupid” but the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that despite Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, they “didn’t have a clear advantage among voters who said the economy was the most important or a very important issue.”

In fact, the survey is “a sign that many voters are looking for a check on Mr. Trump” with more than half “less likely to vote for a candidate who sticks with the president on policy issues more than 90% of the time.”

Besides, as Emory University scholar Alan Abramowitz sees it, a humming economy and support for the party in power do not always correlate. (

Consider, though, the president had not lost the loyalty of laid-off nail plant workers in Poplar Bluff, Missouri affected by tariffs on Mexican steel.  But while early payments for farmers hurt by tariffs kick in before the election, corn growers apparently get only a penny on the bushel.

Then, there’s the “enthusiasm gap” which elections expert Amy Walter sees as a possible preview of that cautiously-predicted “blue wave” (Wall Street Journal, “Is Trump Creating New Republicans?” September 21, 2018). Yes, Republicans are about as charged up now as they were in the 2010 Tea Party surge, and the party’s 47% national favorability rating is as high as it has been in seven years.  A review of polling on races from California to Florida suggest that in terms of support level and turnout, Latino voters are no sure bet to help Dems.

But Nate Silver looks at special elections during the Trump reign as a barometer of “the sort of turnout one might expect in this year’s midterms.” It led one respected political handicapper to suggest an “herbal tea party” this cycle.

And while tea is unlikely to be featured at any collegiate football tailgates this fall – or any fall for that matter –sip on this with your Jack and Coke:  Senator Mike Espy?  Yeah, yeah, even the Cook Political Report has both Mississippi senate seats in decidedly Republican columns.  But there’s a possible path for the former Clinton cabinet secretary in a runoff the Tuesday after Thanksgiving with Sen. Hyde-Smith in which the Chris McDaniel anti-Republican establishment stays home or delivers a revenge vote for the Democrat.

That doesn’t leave much time to digest turkey and pumpkin pie if flesh needs to be pressed.  And what might draw some national party names to the Magnolia State that holiday weekend? The Ole’ Miss-Mississippi State showdown is Black Friday.  At this writing both teams have identical 3-1 records.