After a rough start to year, House Republicans are suddenly feeling less pessimistic about their fall prospects. At the "macro" level, robust economic data and positive developments on the Korean peninsula have helped lift President Trump's approval rating to 42 percent, his best mark in over a year. Concurrently, Democrats' lead over Republicans on FiveThirtyEight's generic congressional ballot average has ebbed from 12 points in January to just five points today.
Republicans have also received small doses of good news at the "micro," race-by-race level. After a winter dominated by a new, unfriendly map in Pennsylvania and a special election loss, May has been kinder to the GOP: Democrats have had sub-optimal primary outcomes in Pennsylvania's 1st CD and Nebraska's 2nd CD, with more possible. And since Speaker Paul Ryan announced his exit on April 11, 40 days have passed without a GOP retirement.
However, it's also important to remember that voter intensity matters just as much as presidential approval and the generic ballot margin, and Republicans still can't point to hard election data that proves their base has suddenly
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