A new GWU/Battleground poll finds Republicans leading Democrats on the generic congressional ballot 46 – 42 percent, with voters trusting the GOP more on the economy, immigration and foreign policy. The poll, conducted jointly by The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners, found that the economy is the most important issue on the minds of American voters, and will drive their vote more than any other issue.
“Though the American public is as divided as it has been all year, as we head into the 2014 general elections the advantage among likely voters is flowing toward Republicans,” said Christopher Arterton, poll director and GW professor of political management.
In the survey of 1000 likely voters, Republicans have an intimidating advantage over Democrats in states considered most likely to flip on PPD’s 2014 Senate Map Predictions model.
“Republicans hold a 4-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot. In states with a competitive Senate race, Republicans hold a 16-point advantage (52 to 36 percent) on this generic ballot,” said Ed Goeas, president and CEO of The Tarrance Group.
A large amount of political speculation regarding the 2014 midterm elections has consisted of whether the Republicans’ chances of retaking control of the U.S. Senate will hinge upon a wave election, or if there will even be a wave. PPD’s model suggest the GOP is strongly favored to control the Senate, wave or no wave, but Goeas says they are in a better electoral position than they were in 2010, an election that delivered the Democrats a “historic shellacking.”
“All of these measures exceed where the GOP was at this point in the 2010 cycle,” Goeas said. “By any measure, Republicans are fired up and ready to deliver victories to their candidates in November, with of the strong backing of independent (by 15 points) and middle-class voters (by 11 points).”
Voters trust the GOP 49 – 42 on the economy, 51 – 38 on the federal budget and spending, 47 – 46 on jobs, 48 – 42 on taxes, 50 – 40 on foreign policy and 48 – 41 on immigration.
As daunting as the numbers seem for Democratic candidates in the fall, not all strategists see an electoral abyss on the horizon.
“While Republicans regained a narrow lead in the generic congressional trial heat, Democrats enjoy advantages among a number of electoral constituencies that are on the rise (e.g., women, younger voters and voters of color),” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners.
Still, the president is clearly weighing down Democrats going into tough elections this fall. A growing 58 percent majority of voters now disapprove of the president’s handling of immigration issues, as recent reports surfaced he was contemplating an executive order that would legalize up to 8 million illegal immigrants at a time when tens of thousands are flooding across the southern border looking for permisos, or freebies.
On foreign policy, voters disapprove of the president 38 – 58 percent, and give him negative marks on taxes (45 – 50 percent), jobs (47 – 50 percent), the economy (43 – 55 percent), solving problems (42 – 55 percent) and working with Congress (40 – 57 percent). In one of the worst showings, just 35 percent approve of his handling of the federal budget and spending, while 61 percent disapprove.
On the issues, 24 percent of likely voters say the economy is most likely to drive their vote, topping feelings about President Obama (10 percent), ObamaCare (13 percent), behavior of your member of Congress (15 percent), Social Security and Medicare (10 percent) and women’s issues (5 percent).
On economic issues, the Republican Party holds a 7-point advantage with 49 percent of voters expressing more confidence in its ability to manage the issue that is most important to them.
With the release of ever-important post-Labor Day polling, Republicans have now taken a small lead on the PPD average generic ballot. Rasmussen Reports, another pollster tracking the generic ballot weekly, found Republicans holding a small 1-point lead leading up to Labor Day.
We examined a pair of polls released last week from Gallup and Pew Research and found widening enthusiasm and expectation gaps favoring GOP candidates in the fall. We predicted the polls suggested likely voter models, which dominate samples after Labor Day, would have a dramatic impact on the average.
Given the national sentiment and political environment during the 2014 midterm elections, historical generic ballot data suggest the Republican lead would result in relatively significant gains that would constitute a wave election. Determining what constitutes a wave election is another article altogether, but the mood in the country is significantly more sour than in previous wave cycles. A whopping 70 percent of likely voters nationwide feel that the nation is on the wrong track, while just 21 percent say that the nation is headed in the right direction.
Similarly, Rasmussen this week found 66 percent of likely voters nationwide feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, while just 25 percent say it is headed in the right direction. The PPD average of Direction of Country polling sits at a negative 25.6 – 66.1 percent.
According to the PPD 2014 Senate Map Predictions model, Republicans are favored to pick up a net 6 – 9 seats in the U.S. Senate, while our House projections suggest they will slightly expand their majority.