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Poll: Republicans Not Only in a Good Position, but They Could Even Outperform Baseline Estimates

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As covered earlier, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who also serves as the DCCC chairman, was confronted on Sunday with the findings of a CBS News poll, during the latest edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation," which is not looking good for his party. As is the case with other Democrats, the chairman seemed to be in a deep denial about the landscape. Host Margaret Brennan also discussed the findings with CBS News Elections and Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto, and any which way you look at the results, the message remains clear, that the landscape is looking quite good for the Republicans.

Presently, the model looks to give Republicans control of the House with 228 seats. That number could expand to 238 seats, especially given that, as Salvanto mentioned, Republicans "do have an express turnout advantage, more motivation, more enthusiasm so far," and that could grow. Brennan still dismissed the idea that there is going to be a red wave, though, later in the program. For what it's worth, there are those who have pointed to a likely red wave. 

This even larger lead is considered "a more likely scenario" than what remaining hope Democrats may have for keeping their narrow control of the House, which is if turnout from younger voter increases. "The trouble for them is, we have not seen strong indications that that is going to happen," Salvanto warned though. And, in that case, the majority would only be 1 seat, with a pretty much evenly divided House with 218 Democrats and 217 Republicans. 

It's worth mentioning that the poll also showed Republicans with a slight edge on the generic congressional ballot, 47 percent to the 45 percent that Democrats have. 

Later in the program, Cook Political Report's Amy Walter weighed in, explaining that what issues Democrats thought they could rally their based on, just aren't having as much of an impact, and "it feels as if that has pretty much stalled, that It hit this point and it hasn't really gone much further."

As we've covered for months at Townhall, the abortion issue just really was not as much of an issue as Democrats, pollsters, and the mainstream media wanted to make it out to be. 

"Instead, where the focus is now, it's no longer as much about abortion or Donald Trump, and much more about the things that Anthony [Salvanto] pointed out, which is the economy, gas prices and people feeling, quite frankly, pretty stuck," Walter went on to say.

The actual findings of the poll are much more in depth, and really paint a picture of what could be a red wave, regardless of how Brennan categorizes it. 

As has been the case for months, voters do not feel as if the country is going in the right direction. This particular poll asked voters a few different questions on that, with the CBS News write-up highlighting how one question involved asking likely voters if they "feel like things in the U.S. today are" either "out of control" or "under control." At 79 percent, respondents were much more likely to choose the former, compared to the just 21 percent who felt the latter.

The poll also showed that a plurality of respondents felt "things in America are going" generally "very badly," at 42 percent. And, a plurality, at 40 percent, also felt that "the condition of the national economy today" was "very bad."

Likely voters were asked to choose among 12 issues to rank as "very important," "somewhat important," or "not too/not important." As usual, the economy was regarded as the most important issue, with 79 percent saying it was "very important." Inflation was not far behind, at 76 percent. The abortion issue, which Democrats and their friends in the mainstream media have prioritized so heavily, came in as the seventh most important issue, with 56 percent regarding it as "very important." Crime is the third most important issue, with 63 percent of likely voters saying it is "very important."

Republicans have the edge on these top three issues. On the economy, 46 percent of likely voters say that Republican policies would help them more, while 40 percent said so about the Democrats. The contrast is even clearer on the issue of crime, as 46 percent of likely voters say that Republican policies make them feel safer. That's a double digit lead considering that 30 percent say as much about Democratic policies. 

Another advantage for Republicans applies to gas prices. A majority, at 53 percent, believe gas prices would go up under Democratic control, while a plurality, at 45 percent, say they would go down under Republican control. 

Also speaking to the issues and priorities is what likely voters think Democrats and Republicans will each try to do if they win in November's midterm elections. 

Almost all likely voters, at 84 percent, believe that Democrats will "pass a national right to abortion law," which President Joe Biden has certainly made clear is a priority of his. While Biden and fellow pro-abortion Democrats claim that the bill that would be signed, the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), would merely codify Roe v. Wade, it would actually expand it. The WHPA would also invalidate pro-life laws passed at the state level. 

The next top priorities voters believe Democrats would go for look to be particularly bad, as 59 percent of likely voters believe they would "open the U.S. Mexico border" and 53 percent believe they would "cut police funding."

In contrast, a strong majority of likely voters, at 71 percent, believe that Republicans would "increase U.S. energy production," which may also have something to do with voters' beliefs on gas prices. Next is the 63 percent who believe Republicans will "impeach Joe Biden," which members like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Bob Good (R-VA) do certainly seem to consider to be a priority, though the larger focus is on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

While 56 percent believe that Republicans would "pass a national abortion ban," there is no such consensus among Republicans, especially among Republican leadership. While Democrats have focused on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) acknowledgment that it's "possible," he has signaled it would not be likely. Further, the abortion ban that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has proposed is at 15-weeks, with exceptions, based on how unborn children can feel pain at this stage and how this particularly gruesome procedure is more dangerous for the mother. 

For all of how much Democrats have tried to make the election about "threats to democracy" as it applies to January 6 and former President Donald Trump, a majority of likely voters, at 56 percent, say their vote in this election isn't even about him. A plurality say the same about Biden, at 38 percent, though it's pretty much evenly split in that 37 percent say their vote is to oppose him. 

As the CBS News poll tellingly highlights, Democrats aren't even basing their vote so much on supporting Biden. While earlier this month 58 percent of likely Democratic voters said their vote in Congress is to support Biden, now just 50 percent say so. The amount who said it's not about Biden also jumped up from 40 percent to 47 percent. 

From the write-up:

Biden is hitting the campaign trail -- can he motivate Democrats?

His sway may be going in reverse. Fewer Democratic voters now say their vote is in support of Mr. Biden, than did two weeks ago. And the Democratic voters who say they are casting a ballot to support the president are not any more likely to say they'll turnout than those who say their vote isn't about him.

During Sunday's program, Walter had framed the focus of Trump and January 6 as being an issue from "over the course of the summer." The desperation from those trying to make it a bigger issue still persists even this close to the election, though as we've seen with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace and soon-to-be-former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), with the latter serving as the vice chair on the January 6 Select Committee. 

The poll was conducted October 26-28, with 2,119 registered voters and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Some questions specify if they honed in on likely voters, for which there was a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. 


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