Independents Oppose Party in Power … Again
For the third national election in a row, independent voters may be poised to vote out the party in power. Political independents now favor GOP candidates by about as large a margin as they backed Barack Obama in 2008. The “independent vote,” however, is in no way monolithic; this is not surprising given that most independents are recent refugees from the two major parties.
Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
The Vote for Congress: GOP Fares Better with Whites, Men, Independents and Seniors
While voter preferences for the midterm elections remain closely divided, Republicans now enjoy advantages among typically loyal voting blocs that wavered in 2006 and are doing better with key swing groups. Americans who intend to vote GOP this fall are also far more engaged in the campaign this year.
Earmarks Could Help Candidates in Midterms; Palin and Tea Party Connections Could Hurt
Across party lines, the public sees earmarking by their congressional candidates as more of an asset than a liability. Americans are divided on the value of Obama in November, while both Palin’s support and Tea Party affiliation are seen by more as negative than positive. On energy, public backs a wide range of goals and policies.
Voters Rate Political Parties’ Ideologies
In broad terms, voters view the Democratic Party’s ideology as the opposite of the Republican Party’s: 58% say the Democratic Party is either very liberal or liberal while 56% say the GOP is either very conservative or conservative.
Voting Intentions Even, Turnout Indicators Favor GOP
Voters younger than age 30 favor the Democratic candidate in their district by a wide margin (57% to 32%), yet only half of young voters say they are absolutely certain to vote. Voters ages 50 and older favor the Republican candidate in their district by double digits (11 points) and roughly eight-in-ten (79%) say they are absolutely certain to vote.
What Kind of Candidates are Voters Looking for in November?
Americans are less likely to vote for a candidate who supported TARP, more likely to back one who compromises, and split on health care supporters. Neither party has an advantage on the economy, but the GOP has improved on several issues. Sharp rise in BP criticism over the oil spill.
Midterm Election Challenges for Both Parties
Opinions of the Republican Party have improved significantly but still far more people blame the GOP for the poor economy than blame the Democrats. Anti-incumbent sentiment runs high: three-in-ten don’t want to see their current representative reelected. Financial institutions remain a major target of public anger.
A Year Out, Widespread Anti-Incumbent Sentiment
The mood of America is glum. Most are dissatisfied with the state of the nation, economic conditions, personal finances and an increasing number say the war in Afghanistan is not going well. Still, a majority continues to approve of Obama’s job as president.
Some Final Thoughts on Campaign ’08
A wrap-up of possibly overlooked polling trends and end-of-campaign happenings.