Pew poll: The generic midterm ballot is leaning toward the GOP

posted at 9:21 am on May 5, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

“Daunting.” That’s the word Pew and USA Today picked to describe their latest temperature-taking on a slew of midterm election indicators and how they measure for Democrats, and it isn’t tough to see why. The poll was conducted before the administration’s April jobs report was released last Friday, but if a drop of almost one percentage point in the U-3 unemployment rate over the past ten months hasn’t done anything to move the needle on people’s perceptions of the economy, then I highly doubt the further rate drop in last month’s report riding on the back of a net decrease in the total number of employed Americans by 73,000 jobs is going to do anything, either:

From the public’s point of view, jobs remain scarce: 65% say jobs in their community are difficult to find while 27% say there are plenty of jobs available. Since the recession, perceptions of the job market have become less negative as the unemployment rate has declined. However, there has been virtually no change in these views since last June (64% jobs hard to find), although the jobless rate has fallen by more than a percentage point (from 7.5% to 6.3%) since then.

Moreover, there has been no increase in economic optimism. About as many say that economic conditions will be worse (24%) as better (25%) a year from now, with 49% predicting little change.

It’s little wonder Democrats have been advised to avoid the term “recovery,” and despite what President Obama tells us about ObamaCare totally “working” and the debate being basically “over,” Americans don’t seem too convinced by the White House’s victory laps:

Public views of the 2010 health care law have changed little over the past several months. Currently, 55% disapprove of the Affordable Care Act and 41% approve. In September, before the launch of the online health care exchanges, 53% disapproved and 42% approved. …

On health care policy, 46% express a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Obama, 45% express at least a fair amount of confidence in Democratic leaders, while 37% have confidence in Republican leaders. This is a slight improvement for Republican leaders since December 2013, when 32% of the public had confidence in GOP leaders on health care policy (and 50% had confidence in Obama).

Today, more independents have confidence in Obama than Republican congressional leaders on health care policy (43%-34%). But independents’ confidence in Republican leaders in Congress on health care has risen 11 points since December, from 23%, while confidence in Obama is little changed.

On top of that, Obama’s popularity is still meandering with 50 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance and only 44 percent approving; put it all together, and what do you get? “Daunting,” indeed.

A national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted April 23-27 among 1,501 adults (including 1,162 registered voters), finds that 47% of registered voters support the Republican candidate in their district or lean Republican, while 43% favor the Democratic candidate or lean Democratic. The trend over the past six months in the so-called generic ballot shows that Democrats have lost ground. In October, Democrats held a six-point lead (49% to 43%) in midterm voting preferences.

While a majority of voters (54%) say that Barack Obama will not be a factor in their vote this fall, more (26%) see their vote as a vote against the president than for him (16%). In February 2010, 24% of voters saw their vote as for Obama while about as many (20%) considered it a vote against him.


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John Boehner will have to take care of this problem with a big summer push on immigration reform, because he has his finger squarely on the pulse of the American electorate. [/sarc]

jon1979 on May 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

John McCain thinks now is a good time to “fix” ObamaCare. So does John Boehner. And Rand Paul. And Cathy McMorris Rogers.

The Republicans will screw this up, just by opening their pie-holes and being “courageous”.

MTF on May 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

It’s not too late! Comprehensive amnesty legislation to the rescue, stat!

Rix on May 5, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Nothing a quick executive order legalizing all the border jumpers can’t cure.

Bishop on May 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

This site is always good for a laugh. And by laugh I mean cry.

Fenris on May 5, 2014 at 9:36 AM

The Inside-The-Beltway-GOPE will blow the election. Never mind that immigration ranks dead last in the list of priorities AMERICAN voters have. They want to commit suicide. Let them. The GOP will go the way of the Whigs by 2020.

conservative hispanic on May 5, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Living in Cleveland I know all about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.the republicans will cave and we will be stuck with the same liberal set of rinos

jaywemm on May 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Don’t care.

A McConnell led senate and a Boehner led House doesn’t excite me at all.

tcufrog on May 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

The fact that many conservatives are so beat down with the BS, the lack of leadership, and the added pressure of extra “taxes” (thanks Kennedy), it just makes me wonder what will happen closer to the election, rather than now.

upinak on May 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM

A McConnell led senate and a Boehner led House doesn’t excite me at all.

tcufrog on May 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Honestly, I could live with McConnell. We could do far better than him, but I see him as tolerable, at least as a Minority Leader. But the smug, orange-tinted manure pile called Boehner has really been pushing my tolerance.

Rix on May 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Despite those poll numbers the Republicans are not going to have a tsunami type victory in 2014 but only a victory. They will keep the house and possibly pick 5 to 10 extra seats. Most probably they are not going to win the Senate but rather pick a net gain of 2 to 3 seats.
In the House the Republicans almost ran out of districts that they can win because the super vast majority of the districts that the democrats now control, except 10 to 15 of them, are demographically/ideologically very liberal and hence there is zero chance that the Republicans can win them…
In national state wide office such as President and US Senate the democrats have a slight demographic/ideological advantage 52% democrat to 48% Republicans 27-28 states democrats to 23-22 states Republicans and hence it will be hard for Republicans at the current time to win the Senate and the Presidency… The only way for Republicans to win the Senate and the Presidency is to get at least 65% of the White vote but currently they have around 60% of the White vote so they need to get this extra 5% to have a very good chance at winning the Senate in 2014 and later on the Presidency in 2016…

mnjg on May 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

This was a poll of registered voters not likely voters. Likely voters would poll even worse for the Dems and their prospects because of the enthusiasm deficit.

Give her a shot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3mG9fNOZp4

Viator on May 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

The U-3 unemployment rate drop. This is something the left needs to be worried about, not celebrating. A large part, if not damn near all, of the decline in the U-3 rate is due to people leaving the workforce. This is not a good thing.

If you’re one of those unemployed people sitting at home being told the unemployment rate had declined and that this is good for you then chances are that you’ll call bull excrement on the people telling you this. I doubt you’ll vote for them.

If it comes down to counting on the votes of the 228k that got jobs versus the 806k that gave up then you are almost certainly going to lose.

tkc882 on May 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Nothing a quick executive order legalizing all the border jumpers can’t cure.

Bishop on May 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Why bother? The GOP is about to take care of that for him, and it will be all bi-partisan like.

Axe on May 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

I want to move to whatever planet where these results are interpreted to mean, “They must be unhappy about the spending, ObamaCare and the like; we need to cut the spending, repeal ObamaCare and the like.”

Because on this planet, it will just be interpreted as “Check it out — we’re better looking.”

Axe on May 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

There’s really nothing interesting in the House races. Given gerrymandering, few seats are competitive at all.

will77jeff on May 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

From the public’s point of view, jobs remain scarce: 65% say jobs in their community are difficult to find

A few facts about the Employment-Population Ratio:

1) There was NO improvement in April.

2) The worst month under Bush 43 was better than the best month under Obama.

3) Looking back over the last 20 years, we see that Republican majorities (Jan 3, 1995 – Jan 2, 2007) produced 144 consecutive months of employment at or above 62%, ending at 63.4% in December 2006, while Democrat majorities (Jan 3, 2007 – present) have now produced 62 consecutive months of employment at or below 59.9%, most recently at 58.9%.

ITguy on May 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM

If it comes down to counting on the votes of the 228k that got jobs versus the 806k that gave up then you are almost certainly going to lose.

tkc882 on May 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

But those 806k are now free to be poets, painters, musicians, actors and writers. And you know how those people will vote.

Walter L. Newton on May 5, 2014 at 10:30 AM

November no longer seems so distant in the future. Yay. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be a rout, it will be fun to put some more dims out to pasture.

MisterElephant on May 5, 2014 at 10:49 AM

A national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted April 23-27 among 1,501 adults (including 1,162 registered voters), finds that 47% of registered voters support the Republican candidate in their district or lean Republican, while 43% favor the Democratic candidate or lean Democratic.

This means that 22.6% of the “adults” contacted by Pew were not registered to vote. Whatever these people may think, they don’t care enough about it to do something about it, even once every two years. But which party will incite them to register and vote?

Don’t care.

A McConnell led senate and a Boehner led House doesn’t excite me at all.

tcufrog on May 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

It’s this kind of attitude that gave us a Senate led by Harry Reid. Even for those of us not “excited” by Mitch McConnell, we need to vote for the Republican Senate candidate in our state so that bills that pass the House don’t die in the Senate.

Steve Z on May 5, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The numbers for Obama are still too high. What does it take for people to wake up?? Perhaps if the GOP was actually an opposition party Obama would be in the 20s by now.

Jack_Burton on May 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM

…the trolls busy?… actually…sitting on the porcelain?

KOOLAID2 on May 5, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Honestly, I could live with McConnell. We could do far better than him, but I see him as tolerable, at least as a Minority Leader. But the smug, orange-tinted manure pile called Boehner has really been pushing my tolerance.

Rix on May 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Same here.

sohumm on May 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Even for those of us not “excited” by Mitch McConnell, we need to vote for the Republican Senate candidate in our state so that bills that pass the House don’t die in the Senate.

Steve Z on May 5, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Agreed!

sohumm on May 5, 2014 at 5:19 PM