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CNN poll: Republicans, buoyed by enthusiasm and economic concerns, hold a narrow advantage ahead of next week’s congressional election


An enthusiastic Republican base and lingering concerns about the state of the economy put the GOP in a strong position about a week away from the race to control the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS .

The new survey released Wednesday shows that Democrats’ enthusiasm for the vote is significantly lower than it was in 2018, when the Democratic Party took control of the House. Republican voters in the new poll express greater commitment to this year’s midterm elections than Democrats across multiple questions assessing the likelihood of voting.

Overall, 27% of registered voters say they are extremely excited to vote this year, down from 37% just before the 2018 midterm elections, and the dip in enthusiasm comes almost entirely from Democrats. Four years ago, 44% of registered Democratic voters said they were extremely excited about voting; now only 24% say the same. Among Republicans, the number fell only slightly, from 43% to 38%.

Although overall enthusiasm for the vote is now lower than in October 2010, the Republican enthusiasm advantage is now similar to the partisan gap seen in CNN polls at the time, ahead a very strong midterm GOP performance. Then, as now, Republican voters were 14 points more likely to say they were extremely enthusiastic about voting midterm (31% of Republican voters were extremely enthusiastic compared to 17% of Democratic voters).

In the new poll, Republicans lead Democrats on a generic voting question asking voters which party candidate they would support in their own House district by 51% to 47% among likely voters, just outside the margin of survey sampling error. Among registered voters, the race is roughly even, trailing Republicans 47% and 46% behind Democrats. Closely divided generic ballot numbers have often resulted in Republican gains in the House.

The Republican stance in the battle for the House this year is bolstered by broad concerns about the state of the national economy. The economy and inflation are by far the biggest issue for likely voters in this home stretch, with about half of all likely voters (51%) saying it will be the key issue determining their vote for Congress this year. Abortion, the number two issue, is the main concern of 15% of likely voters. Other issues tested were chosen by less than 10% of likely voters each, including voting rights and election integrity (9%), gun policy (7%), immigration (6% ), climate change (4%) and crime (3%). ).

Republican and independent likely voters largely focus on the economy, with 71% of Republicans and 53% of independents calling it the top issue with their vote. Likely Democratic voters are more divided, with the economy and abortion being the top issue in nearly equal parts – 29% say abortion, 27% the economy and inflation.

Likely voters who say the economy is their top concern split heavily in favor of Republicans in their House districts, 71% to 26%. By an even wider margin, they say they trust the GOP more specifically to manage the economy and inflation (71% Republicans versus 18% Democrats).

The poll reveals a widespread and broad perception that the economy is already in recession, with a large majority also saying things in the country are generally not going well.

Overall, 75% of Americans say the economy is in a recession, compared to 64% who felt it this summer. Majorities of all parties believe the economy is already in recession, including 91% Republicans, 74% Independents and 61% Democrats. Overall, a majority (55%) say they are dissatisfied with their personal financial situation, compared to 47% who were of this opinion this spring. Most Republicans (57%) and Independents (62%) say they are dissatisfied with their finances, while Democrats are more likely to be satisfied (55% satisfied, 45% dissatisfied).

Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%, including 72% likely voters) say things are bad in the country today. That’s a slight improvement from this summer, when 79% of all adults rated things wrong, but it’s similar to how Americans felt about the state of the country just before the 2010 midterm reviews. (75% said things were bad) and much worse than just before Election Day 2018 (44% said things were bad in early November). The last time a majority of Americans said things were fine in the United States was in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid this growing economic malaise and stagnant negativity about the nation, President Joe Biden’s approval rating has also plummeted in the new poll. Overall, 41% of adults say they approve of the president’s performance, up from 44% in the last CNN poll, but still ahead of his low point this summer. Among likely voters, Biden’s rating stands at 42%, roughly on par with Donald Trump among likely voters in 2018 (41% approved) and Barack Obama in 2010 (43% approved).

The new CNN poll was conducted by SSRS from Oct. 26-31 among a random national sample of 1,508 adults using a sample drawn from a probability panel, including 1,290 registered voters and 992 likely voters. Surveys were conducted either online or by telephone with a live interviewer. The results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points; it is 3.4 points among registered voters and 3.8 among probable voters. Likely voters were identified through a series of questions about their intention, interest and voting history.

Half of Americans are confident that US election results reflect the will of the people, with Republicans less confident than Democrats in the fairness of the process and more likely to reject the idea that losing candidates have a responsibility to concede.

Fifty percent of adults say they are at least somewhat confident that elections in the United States today reflect the will of the people, with the rest expressing little or no confidence. That’s a modest improvement from CNN’s poll this summer, when just 42% described themselves as confident. Much of the change was due to a modest rebound in confidence among independents (49% say they are at least somewhat confident in the election, down from 38%) and Republicans (41%, down from 29%). Confidence remains highest among Democrats — 61% express at least some confidence, similar to 57% who said the same this summer.

Yet the GOP’s increased confidence in the electoral system is not translating into an increased willingness to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election: 66% of Republicans say they don’t believe Biden legitimately won the election. election, unchanged from July.

The vast majority of Americans, 82%, say losing candidates in their state have an obligation to accept the results and concede, but 17% say losing candidates face no such obligation. A quarter of Republicans say losing candidates don’t have to give in, compared to 7% of Democrats. Within the GOP, that view is concentrated among Holocaust deniers: 33% of Republicans who deny Biden won the presidency don’t think losing candidates should be forced to concede their loss, a view shared by just 8 % of Republicans who accept the 2020 election results.

Republicans are also less likely than Democrats to say challenges by losing candidates from their own party would hurt public confidence in the country’s electoral system. A 71% majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say a losing candidate from their party who contests the results would do more to decrease confidence in the US election than to increase it. A narrow 54% majority of Republicans and Republican leanings say a losing GOP candidate would diminish confidence in the election by contesting the results.

On both the Republican and Democratic sides, supporters are more likely than independents leaning toward their party to say their candidate would increase confidence in the election by challenging the results, and those without a college degree are also more likely likely than those with degrees to see such results. such a confidence-inspiring gesture. On the GOP side, self-styled conservatives are more likely than self-styled moderates to say that contesting election results inspires confidence in the system; there isn’t much of a similar ideological divide on the Democratic side.


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