Disconnect for Dems in new poll
A poll released Friday gave mixed results to Democrats with the mid-term elections, in which they are expected to lose a large amount of seats in Congress, just one month away.
Democrats beat Republicans on almost all policy issues in the latest Newsweek poll, but the public is virtually undecided on whether or not they should keep their majorities in Congress:
Democrats more than Republicans to handle pretty much every problem currently facing the country: Afghanistan (by 6 points), health care (by 12), immigration (by 2, though that figure is within the margin of error), Social Security (by 14), unemployment (by 12), financial reform (by 14), energy (by 19), and education (by 19). Voters even prefer Democrats to Republicans on federal spending (by 4 points), taxes (by 5), and the economy (by 10)—the GOP's core concerns. The only area where Republicans outpoll Democrats is the issue of terrorism, where they lead by a 6-point margin.
Still, voters are split on which party should control Congress after November—44 percent went for Republicans, 46 percent for Democrats.
The poll says mixed things about the Democrats strategy heading into the November mid-terms. Many political observers are predicting that Republicans could take control of the House and make large gains on the Democrats 59-seat Senate majority.
National Democrats have framed the election as a choice between themselves and the GOP, arguing that while the economic recovery has been slower than expected, the passage of key measures such as the stimulus, healthcare reform and financial regulation, have put the country on the right track.
They have painted Republicans as a group that wants to restore Bush-era policies that triggered the economic crisis and end popular entitlement programs like Social Security.
While the public appears to have gotten the message on the issues, it has not resonated as greatly as a case for allowing the Democrats to keep their control of Congress and thereby continue implementing those policies.
Republicans have said that the Obama administration's policies have increased the federal deficit, deepened the nation's debt and failed to create jobs. The public appears to be partially receptive to that with unemployment still standing at 9.6 percent.
Even though Republicans have attempted to make the election a referendum on the Obama administration, the president's approval rating remained at 48 percent, "roughly where it has remained since January of this year."
Obama's approval rating is better than President George W. Bush's 33 percent approval rating in 2006 when the GOP lost control of the House. It is also higher than President Bill Clinton's 36 percent rating in 1994, just before the Republican revolution.
The Newsweek poll was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from Sept. 29-30 of 1,025 adults. The margin of error was 3.8 percentage points.