Monday, July 19, 2010

The Monthly Generic

Barack Obama's approval numbers hit a record low in PPP's national survey this month, but that doesn't seem to be having too much impact on how his party does in generic Congressional polling. We find a 43/43 tie on this month's look at the generic ballot.

As has been the case throughout most of this cycle Republicans are a little bit more unified than Democrats are, and independents are leaning toward the GOP as well. 87% of Republicans are committed to voting for their party this fall, while 84% of Democrats are. Independents say they'll vote Republican by a 38-31 margin.

Among voters who are 'very excited' about voting this fall Republicans hold a 52-40 advantage. How much that matters is up for debate though. Scott Brown led the Massachusetts Senate race 59-40 with 'very excited' voters but won by only 5. Chris Christie led the New Jersey Governor's race 60-34 with 'very excited' voters but his final margin of victory was only 4 points. As I've said before unexcited voters count the same as excited ones and our polling so far this cycle has suggested the Democrats who answer our surveys vote, whether they're excited about it or not. So I'm not sure how much the wide GOP advantage with 'very excited' voters really matters.

There continues to be no doubt this fall's election will have more to do with whether Democrats can turn out Obama voters than keep them in the fold. Very few voters are shifting their allegiance from the 2008 election- 8% of Obama voters say they'll vote Republican this time but an almost equal 6% of McCain voters say they'll vote Democratic this time. When it comes to voters switching sides it's basically a wash, but Republicans are doing well across the country due to Democratic disengagement.

The extreme unpopularity of both parties in Congress is a broken record now, but only 33% of voters approve of the job Congressional Democrats are doing to 57% disapproving and for Congressional Republicans the numbers are even worse with 20% approving and 60% disapproving. If anything mitigates Democratic losses this fall it will be the inability of the Republicans to cast themselves as a viable alternative.

Full results here


H. Cheadle said...

It's interesting that the disapproval rating for Republicans in Congress is worse than the Democrats. The narrative that says that the public is dissatisfied with Washington in general would seem to imply that the majority party would get the worst of it, along with the president. It looks like the GOP's plan to stop anything at all from being done did not make them popular. Maybe the only advantage the GOP has this cycle is that most of them aren't incumbents, and there seems to be a lot of anti-incumbent sentiment lately.

Anonymous said...

"Republicans may win the midterms, not because they have more support but because their base is more energized and shows up to the polls in greater numbers"

That IS what usually drives these elections. Do you think the democrats won in 2006 because they were loved -- of course not, it was because more democrats were anxious to get out and vote.

Christian Liberty said...

H, the advantage that Republicans have is that they are conservative. Any trouble Republicans may have nationally is tied to the problem that they weren't more conservative.

DBL said...

Democrats in 2006 and 2008 didn't really run on anything. There was no "Contract With America." Sure, candidates had positions, but that wasn't the key ingredient. Their message was that they weren't the Republicans, you should have hope, and things were going to change. It worked extraordinarily well.

The problem when they don't vote policies is that when you get in there and do your policies, you might not have public support. Republicans would do well to remember that.

Look at the in-tabs on Congress job approval. The Republicans in Congress are only marginally worse -37 vs. -32 among independents. The Republicans actually do a little better -75% vs -88 among the opposite party. The statistic that should jump out at everyone is that Republicans have a +5% with Republicans compared to Democrats having a +36%. Republicans beat the Dems 22% to 13% on people who weren't sure. I'm guessing some of that difference is from people who don't like the Republicans but don't want to say that.

Republican grassroots are trying to get rid of the old Republicans as fast as they can. The support for the GOP is for new, fresh Republicans.

NRH said...

The extremely low popularity of Republicans is probably tied to a lower level of support from their own partisans - as we've seen in primaries this year, Republicans are in an extremely anti-establishment radical mood (witness Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Nevada, and potentially New Hampshire). Republicans see the dour national economy and their own party's failures to advance any positive agenda and failures (as they see it) to block Democrats from achieving major policy goals. Democrats aren't very happy with their leaders either, but recognize that Republican obstructionism has also been a problem, leading to a split in who they blame and less anti-establishmentism. Democrats upset at not getting better bills blame Republicans and a handful of Democrats like Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln for blocking them, and party leaders are blamed more for not being able to push better bills through than for not trying.

Specter losing his primary was no surprise; he'd been a Democratic target for so long, a late and transparently self-serving party switch wasn't going to help. There have been several competitive primaries, but the only serious one on the Democratic side taking on an incumbent or overwhelmingly establishment-backed figure was in Arkansas, where Lincoln's pre-existing poor poll numbers cued an opportunistic primary. Republicans are largely in a mood to throw out their leadership, while Democrats are more likely to want to improve theirs.

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty, the problem is they are too conservative.

If the Republicans had nominated Trey Grayson, Jack Conway would have no chance. If the Republicans had nominated Tom Campbell, Boxer would be down. If the Republicans had nominated Danny Tark., we would see the end of Harry Reid. And I could go on and on...

The Interesting Times said...

I think we're all missing something here. This poll shows that voters disapprove more strongly of the Republicans in Congress by a 24 point margin.

Yet the poll shows that voters are evenly divided on whether to send more Republicans to Congress in November.

Why the disconnect? There seems to be another dynamic at work that nobody has conclusively identified yet.

Christian Liberty said...

No. Conservative equals popular.

What Republicans need to do is become MORE CONSERVATIVE.

And what Democrats need to do is to become MORE CONSERVATIVE.

Americans want conservatives. And the candidate who convincingly campaigns as being MORE CONSERVATIVE wins more often than not.

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty, do you have any proof? Have you seen the horrible campaign that very Conservative Sharron Angle is running? What if principle conservative Danny Tarkanian had run? Reid is so unpopular that Tarkanian would have won. Leave it to conservatives to blow that one. Also, Angle is so unpopular. But OH RIGHT... conservatives are what Americans want. Why do they not like Angle?

California. I assume your preferred candidate was Chuck DeVore. Do you really think in a state that Obama won with >60% is going to elect DeVore? That's why moderate Tom Campbell even led Barbara Boxer in a poll. And being in California, I would have voted for Campbell over Boxer.

Kentucky. The most recent poll showed that Rand Paul is extremely unpopular.But OH RIGHT... Americans want conservatives. Why, in a state rapidly trending conservative is Rand Paul tied or leading by less than 5 points against liberal Jack Conway?

Arizona. Do you like Hayworth? Have you not seen how unpopular he is?

And there are more too.

Give me one stat from one poll (even Rasmussen) that shows Americans want to be conservative.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"The extremely low popularity of Republicans is probably tied to a lower level of support from their own partisans"

Partially, yes. If you look at the crosstabs, which are freely available at the bottom of the post, Republican voters give Congressional Republicans only a 42-37 approval, compared to Dems' 67-21 mark for their own party's leaders. But Republicans also more strongly disapprove of Congressional Dems (91%) than Dems do of Congressional Repubs (81%). The difference, along with the tepid support from the GOP partisans, also comes among Christian Liberty's exalted independents: they give a 22-64 mark to Congressional Dems but only a 14-61 to Congressional Repubs.

The Interesting Times said...

Anonymous, lately I've been considering the possibility that Paul, Angle, and a few others are not really conservatives in the sense in which the term has traditionally been used.

Libertarians hold a number of views that diverge significantly from those historically espoused by self-described conservatives, suggesting that the insistance on identifying people like Rand Paul as conservatives is really just a libertarian attempt at hijacking the conservative label.

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