WASHINGTON (AP) – Two weeks before Election Day, most likely American voters now expect the Republican Party to take control of the US Senate and with it full control of Congress, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. And by a growing margin, they say that’s the outcome they’d prefer.
But the survey suggests many won’t be eager when they do vote. Most voters likely to cast ballots have a negative impression of the Republican Party, and 7 in 10 are dissatisfied by its leaders in Congress.
The Democrats win few accolades themselves. Impressions of the party among likely voters have grown more negative in the past month. In fact, Democrats are more trusted than the Republicans on just two of nine top issues, the poll showed.
The economy remains the top issue for likely voters – 91 per cent call it “extremely” or “very” important. And the Republicans have increased their advantage as the party more trusted to handle the issue to a margin of 39 per cent to 31 per cent.
With control of the Senate at stake – Republicans already control the House of Representatives – both parties say they are relying on robust voter-turnout operations and monster campaign spending to lift their candidates in the final days.
But the poll suggests any appeals they’ve made so far haven’t done much to boost turnout among those already registered. The share who reports that they are certain to vote in this year’s contests has risen just slightly since September, and interest in news about the campaign has held steady.
Among all adults, 38 per cent say they’d like the Democrats to wind up in control of Congress, to 36 per cent for the Republicans.
But the party holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 per cent of these voters favour a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 per cent a Democratic one. That’s a shift in the party’s favour since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.
Women have moved in the Republicans’ direction since September. In last month’s AP-GfK poll, 47 per cent of female likely voters said they favoured a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 per cent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 per cent prefer the Republicans, 42 per cent the Democrats.
In all, the poll finds that 55 per cent of likely voters now expect Republicans to win control of the Senate, up from 47 per cent last month. Democrats have grown slightly more pessimistic on this count since September, with 25 per cent expecting the Republicans to take control now compared with 18 per cent earlier.
What’s deeply important to likely voters after the economy? About three-quarters say health care, terrorism, the threat posed by the Islamic State group and Ebola.