Enthusiasm Gap Gives the GOP ‘Midterm Momentum’
Policy + Politics

Enthusiasm Gap Gives the GOP ‘Midterm Momentum’

With just a week to go before the midterm elections, Republicans continue to enjoy what appears to be a decisive advantage in voter enthusiasm, says a new survey by The Washington Post and ABC News. Among those likely to vote next week, 50 percent say they prefer a Republican candidate over a Democratic one, with only 44 percent saying they would prefer a Democrat.

Other recent polling has suggested that the enthusiasm gap appears likely to be the deciding factor in this 2014 midterm. A broad segment of registered voters prefers Democrats to Republicans, but because a far higher percentage of Republicans come out to vote in the midterms, the advantage among likely voters consistently swings to the GOP.

Related: Low Turnout Will Damage Dems, Says New Poll

When all adults were asked which party they “trust to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years,” Democrats came out ahead, 39 percent to 37 percent. With the pool narrowed to registered voters, the major parties were tied at 39 percent each. But narrowed further to people likely to vote next week, Republicans surged to a 42 percent to 37 percent lead.

The Post/ABC poll showed that President Obama’s numbers continue to be poor, with a 51 percent disapproval rating on his general job performance and a 52 percent disapproval rating on his handling of the economy. Among registered voters, however, 56 percent said their opinion of Obama had no bearing on how they would vote in the midterms.

Less than half of those polled believed Republicans would take over the Senate, even though many election forecasters put the actual likelihood of a GOP takeover at 60 percent or higher. More tellingly, asked whether a Republican takeover of the Senate would be good, bad, or make no difference, a plurality of 39 percent said it would have little effect at all. 

Related: Voters Trust Democrats More Than GOP, But Not to Run the Country

The poll showed that Americans are still convinced the economy is in bad shape, despite the fact that it has been creating more than 200,000 jobs per month, on average, this year. And on the obligatory right direction/wrong direction question about the general state of the country, 68 percent said the U.S. remains on the wrong track.

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