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GOP Backers in Midterm Elections Driven by Opposition to Obama, Democrats

5 years ago
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CongressAmericans who favor Republicans to win control of Congress are motivated more by opposition to President Obama and Democrats than they are by their support for the GOP and its candidates, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted May 6-10.

Sixty-four percent of those who back the Republicans in the midterm elections say it is to oppose Obama and Democratic candidates while 31 percent say it is because they support the Republican Party and its standard bearers. By contrast, those who want to see Democrats maintain control of Congress are almost evenly divided in their reasons -- 49 percent say it is to support Obama and the party, while 48 percent say it is because of opposition to Republican candidates.

On its generic congressional ballot, Republicans and Democrats are tied at 44 percent each with 12 percent undecided. In March and late January, Democrats had been ahead by three and two points respectively, and in mid January they had been tied at 41 percent each. The margin of error in this poll is 3.1 points.

The midterms are being held in an atmosphere where seven out of 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, 56 percent believe the country is on the wrong track and 81 percent are very or somewhat dissatisfied with the economy (with 45 percent in the "very" category).

The Wall Street Journal story on the poll found some ominous signs for Democrats heading into the election. It said there had been a big shift of independents, who at this point in the 2006 campaign favored Democratic control of Congress by 40 percent to 24 percent but who now favor the Republicans by 38 percent to 30 percent.

The Journal also said that suburban women, among whom the Democrats had a 24-point advantaged four years ago, now narrowly favor Republicans taking over the House. It said there was a similar shift among voters 65 and older.

"This is the inverse of where we were four years ago, and in a way that projects to substantial Democratic losses in November," pollster Bill McInturff told the Journal. McInturff is a Republican pollster who teams up with Democratic pollster Peter Hart to conduct the survey.

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