News / USA

Gallup Poll Shows Republicans Favored in Congressional Elections

US Capitol
US Capitol
Cindy Saine

A new Gallup Poll public opinion survey indicates that American voters now prefer Republican candidates over Democratic candidates on a generic ballot by 49 to 43 percent for congressional elections in November.  The trends reflected in the poll could mean a rough time at the polls in November for U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party.  

Gallup's daily tracking poll has shown Republicans with a slight lead on generic ballots for the November congressional races for several weeks, but Republicans have now expanded it to the largest lead of this campaign season.  The shift to a larger lead for Republicans happened the same week that President Barack Obama's approval rating dropped slightly to 46 percent in the Gallup poll, his lowest weekly average to date.

Frank Newport is the editor-in-chief of the respected Gallup Poll:

'In general, I think the data simply reinforce our conclusion here at Gallup that, everything else being equal, Republicans are looking good in the forthcoming midterm elections November second," said Frank Newport.

The Gallup poll shows that the percentage of registered voters identifying themselves as Republicans has been consistent over the past several weeks.  But there has been a decline in the percentage of voters identifying themselves as Democrats and an increase in those polled identifying themselves as independents.

David Wasserman is house editor of the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan publication that provides analysis of U.S. political races.  He says a shift in independent voters is critical.

"And I really think the key to this midterm election is independents, and independent voters, those voters who don't necessarily affiliate with either party," said David Wasserman. "They basically behaved at the polls like Democrats in 2006 and 2008.  And in the public opinion surveys, the data that we are seeing, they are behaving more and more like Republicans lately."

President Obama's Democrats are also fighting against historic voting trends, as David Hawkings, managing editor of Congressional Quarterly Weekly, explains.

"In our system of government, the president runs every four years, there is one race for every House seat and one-third of the Senate in between every presidential election, and so the voters don't have any way to vote for or against  the president and so they essentially, to simplify things they express their sentiment about the president in their votes for Congress," said David Hawkings. "And generally after two years, there is always, almost always a little bit of "buyer's remorse" [regrets about who the voters chose] about the president."

Hawkings says Republicans are likely to pick up seats, but the interesting question is if they can manage to pull off what is sometimes referred to as "the big wave", meaning they capture enough seats to re-take majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"There have been some signs of what they call "the big wave", and one of the reasons that the Republicans won in 1994, the so-called "Newt Gingrich Revolution",  the "Contract with America Revolution", where 40 years of Democratic-control of the House came to an end, there were several reasons for that," he said. "One of them was an anti-incumbent sentiment, one of them was just a "tired of business as usual" sentiment, and there were other sort of reasons in favor of the Republicans.  The signs at the moment seem dimmer."  

Frank Newport says recent polls show a very potent anti-incumbent mood across the country, with voters frustrated with an uncertain economy and continued high unemployment. Newport says Republicans may be on the brink of winning the 40 seats they would need to retake majority control of the House.

"I think we are close, in either direction," he said. "Because obviously the Democrats have a fairly substantial margin, in terms of seats now, so the Republicans would need to win a number of seats to take control, but I think that is within the realm of possibility.  Whether or not it is going to happen or not is really going to depend on what happens between now and November second, but we can't rule it out.  Again, it looks like a good year for Republicans, whether it is an exceptional year for Republicans remains to be seen."

The Gallup Poll also shows that Republicans continue to enjoy an advantage in reported voter enthusiasm over Democrats,  by a margin of 39 to 24 percent in the latest survey.  Frank Newport says historically, Republicans have an edge in  fervor among voters, and this translates into higher voter turnout  for midterm congressional elections.

"Historically we find Republicans generally tend to be somewhat more emotional and strong in their feelings," said Newport. "Some of that actually based on our research is based on religion.  In general, Republicans are significantly more likely to be religious than Democrats, based on our measures, and religion has emotion as part of it, and that is, I think, part of the equation as well."

Although current trends look bleak for Democrats, there are still five months to go, and Democrats will certainly fight  back.  In a recent speech in Pittsburgh, President Obama sounded a tougher tone against Republicans.

"Now, some of you may have noticed that we have been building this foundation without much help from our friends in the other party," said President Obama. "From our efforts to rescue the economy to health insurance reform to financial reform, most have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers. They said no to tax cuts for small businesses; no to tax credits for college tuition; no to investments in clean energy. They said no to protecting patients from insurance companies and consumers from big banks."

President Obama said that Democrats and Republicans differ starkly on the role of government in helping to solve the major problems Americans face.  

The Gallup Poll shows that the issues voters care most about are the economy, jobs, the national debt and immigration.  It is not yet clear what impact the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may have on the November 2 congressional elections.

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs