Reversal: Republicans Now Lead Democrats on Congressional Ballot Question

Posted: May 05, 2014 12:00 PM

The congressional midterm elections put a check, so to speak, on the president’s legislative agenda in 2010. Yes, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law earlier that year, but many Democrats lost (or narrowly kept) their jobs as a result of supporting it. Indeed, Republicans picked up 63 seats in the U.S. House (thereby winning majority control of that legislative body) and six seats in the upper chamber. For what it’s worth, it was the most successful wave election for House Republicans since Harry Truman secured a second term.

And yet in March 2010, some eight months before voters went to the polls, the Pew Research Center and USA Today released a survey showing Congressional Republicans and Congressional Democrats tied (44%) on the generic congressional ballot question. Nevertheless, in large part because of Obamacare and the rise of the Tea Party, Republicans at the federal level (and at the state level, for that matter) went on to win big on Election Day. Now of course that same exact poll (re-conducted almost exactly four years later) is even more encouraging.

Not only do Republicans now lead on the generic congressional ballot question, but more respondents today than in 2010 see their right to vote as a way to convey their deep disapproval of the current administration and its policies:

 photo midtermpoll1_zps14733a42.png

Polls are subject to change, of course. But roughly six months before the midterm elections, generic congressional support for the Democratic Party is moving in the wrong direction:

 photo midtermpoll2_zps02c83360.png

We can’t accurately predict voter turnout in 2014, which ultimately will determine if Republicans recapture the U.S. Senate or not. But if anything Democrats are desperate to reverse these trends, and none of their tactics seem to be working.