Brand new numbers from a fresh Politico/GWU nationwide survey — all of which are among likely voters, with a partisan sample of 41/40/17 (D/R/I):
(1) Republicans hold a four-point lead (43/39) on the generic Congressional ballot, a measure that traditionally favors Democrats. Including leaners, the margin is unchanged (46/42). Republicans have a strong edge on this question among independent (+15) and middle class voters (+11). And then there’s this, with all the obvious caveats about the reliability of small sub-samples firmly in place:
“In states with a competitive US Senate race, Republicans hold a sixteen point advantage (52%-36%) on this generic ballot.” I suspect 16 percentage points is outside even the most ardent skeptic’s margin of error.
(2) President Obama is a drag on his party. A majority of likely 2014 voters disapprove of his job performance (44/51), with strong disapproval outpacing strong approval by 18 points (27/45). Obama’s approval ratings are underwater by double digits on a slew of major issues: The economy (-10), solving problems (-12), working with Congress (-17), federal spending and budgets (-26), foreign policy (-20), and immigration (-20). He’s upside-down, but within the margin of error on his handling of jobs, taxes, Social Security, Medicare and “representing middle class values.” Obama is only in positive territory on one of the 12 issues polled: “Standing up for the middle class,” and that’s only by two percentage points.
(3) The public’s overall mood is quite sour. Just 21 percent of respondents say the country is on the right track, with fully 70 percent saying America is on the wrong track. Other polling on this question is similarly grim.
(4) When the two parties go head-to-head, Republicans hold clear advantages on several of the issues that are most likely to drive the 2014 campaign:
Economy: GOP +7
Federal budget/spending: GOP +13
Taxes: GOP +6
Foreign policy: GOP +10
The parties are virtually tied on jobs and solving problems. Democrats hold leads on Social Security, Medicare (ahem), and middle class issues. However, “Republicans enjoy a double digit advantage with middle class voters on [four] decisive issues,” according to pollsters from the Terrance Group, the Republican-leaning half of the partnership that conducted the survey. Those four are the economy, taxes, foreign policy and immigration. Also, see the generic ballot figure noted in item #1.
(5) Finally, a word on voter enthusiasm and intensity, again via the pollsters:
The vote intensity of Republican voters is strong – a net twelve-points more than their Democratic counterparts. Overall, sixty-two percent (62%) of voters say they are extremely likely to vote in the November elections. However, Republicans (69% extremely likely) outpace Democrats (57% extremely likely). In fact, this intensity advantage exceeds where Republicans were in the September 2010 Battleground Poll.
It’s little wonder, based on these numbers, that Democrats are hoping to fight the 2014 cycle on terrain such as birth control (here’s a good GOP response), pay equity for women (cough), corporate inversions, the minimum wage, and Mediscare (which Republicans blunted in 2012 with counter-attacks like this). Today’s Battleground poll data spells bad news for the Obama, Reid, Pelosi triumvirate — but two months is a long time in politics, and conservatives should take absolutely nothing for granted. Vulnerable Democrats, meanwhile, are “twisting themselves in knots” trying to elude Obama’s anti-Midas touch: