Compared with four years ago, there is less excitement and optimism about the victorious party and its plans following the GOP's overwhelmingly successful Election Day. Also, while the public expresses more conservative views about the role of government than it did just two years ago, on major policy decisions that will arise in coming months, opinion is closely divided.
As the 2010 midterm elections near, Republican engagement and enthusiasm continue at record levels, outpacing even improved Democratic showings on these indicators. The growing popularity of early voting -- about a quarter of voters nationally say they plan to vote before Election Day -- gives Democrats less time to make up ground and there is no indication that their voter mobilization efforts are outmatching Republican efforts.
Two factors have emerged as major potential negatives for congressional candidates: TARP and Sarah Palin. Americans are split over whether they are more likely to vote for candidates who supported the health care law.
In its Topic A feature for Sunday April 4, 2010, the Washington Post asked several experts -- among them the Pew Research Center's Director of Survey Research Scott Keeter -- whether the Republican Party would win in November with a negative strategy.