The Most Troubling Numbers for Democrats

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Two surveys are out today showing bad news for Democrats heading into the November midterms, as ABC/Washington Post concurs with Gallup that Republicans enjoy their largest historical advantage in generic House polling, while NBC follows on with more tidings of doom.


Aside from the generic-ballot polling (53-40 percent GOP advantage, per ABC) and Obama's low approval (44 percent, per Gallup) here are the most troubling specifics for Democrats:

  • 61 percent say the country is heading on the wrong track, a high-point in NBC polling since Obama took office [NBC]

  • More (33 percent) say Obama's economic agenda has hurt the economy than say it has helped (30 percent) [ABC]

  • Only 39 percent approve of Obama's handling of the economy [NBC]

  • Republicans enjoy a 20-percentage-point generic-ballot advantage among those who are most enthusiastic about voting in the midterms [NBC]

  • People are getting more frustrated, not less, according to ABC's "frustration index," which is based on economic views, presidential approval, polling on incumbents, and satisfaction with government. That number has climbed from 67 to 72 (out of 100). [ABC]

  • Obama suffers low approval among some key midterm groups, with only 39 percent approval among independents (45 percent disapprove) and seniors (53 percent disapprove). [NBC]

  • Republicans lead Democrats among voters who list the economy, health care, and the deficit (the three top issues for November) as their top voting issue. [ABC]

  • On the whole, voters prefer Republican newcomers to any type of candidate this year. 38 percent prefer a Republican who has not served in Congress; 24 percent prefer a Democratic incumbent; 16 percent prefer a Democrat who has not served; and 15 percent prefer a Republican incumbent. [Gallup]

  • African-American engagement is low after a surge in the 2008 election: blacks trailed whites 25 percent to 42 percent when asked by Gallup if they'd given either "quite a lot of" or "some" thought to the midterm elections--meaning lower black engagement and a larger gap than Gallup has seen in its October/November pre-election polling since 1994 (its current numbers were based on August polling). [Gallup]

  • Anti-incumbent sentiment remains high: 33 percent want to re-elect their representatives, while 57 percent say they'd rather "look around" [ABC]
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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