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CNN poll: Democratic advantages grow ahead of 2018 midterms

Democrats once again hold a wide advantage in a generic congressional matchup, according to a ...

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 3:53 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 3:53 AM

Democrats once again hold a wide advantage in a generic congressional matchup, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, backed by a base of supporters who are more enthusiastic than Republican partisans and more motivated by core issues.

The poll finds 54% of registered voters say they back a Democrat in their congressional district, 38% say they back a Republican. That's a shift in favor of the Democrats since January, bringing their advantage in a hypothetical generic matchup to about the same level as early 2006, a year in which the party won control of both the House and the Senate.

Read the full poll results

This also mirrors their advantage on the question last fall, before a January full of good economic news brought a shift toward more positive numbers for both President Donald Trump and his party. The same poll also found Trump's approval rating declining -- a metric that's frequently closely tied to his party's performance in a midterm election year.

Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents remain more enthusiastic about voting this fall than Republicans and Republican-leaners. Overall, 51% of that Democratic base say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting in November compared with 41% of the Republican base.

The poll also suggests that the issues on which Republicans have largely pinned their electoral hopes -- the economy, taxes and immigration -- are carrying less weight with voters than are health care and gun policy -- two issues where the Democrats typically have stronger backing from the public overall.

Health care and gun policy are deemed deeply important by about half of voters (53% and 49%, respectively, call them extremely important), while about four in 10 say they are as motivated by the economy (43%) and immigration (38%). Sexual harassment is a sharp motivator for 36% of voters. Taxes, an issue Republicans have said will move voters as they realize the benefits of the tax changes passed last year, is extremely important for 35%. The investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election rounds out the list, with just about a quarter (26%) calling that extremely important to their vote.

There are wide partisan gaps on how important several issues are to voters, with Democratic voters more likely to say they are particularly moved by health care (65%, vs 40% among Republicans), gun policy (62%, vs. 40% among Republicans), sexual harassment (50%, vs. 21% of Republicans) and immigration (48%, vs. 32% among Republicans).

Republican voters, however, are not significantly more motivated than Democrats on any issue tested, suggesting that more positive views of the economy and the GOP's success in enacting tax reform, which may have been boosting their numbers in January, may be less strong a motivator for the party's voters this fall than are the issues where Democrats have focused their opposition to the Republican-led government for that party's base.

Gun policy in particular has increased dramatically in salience compared with the previous midterm election cycle. In October 2014, ahead of the first election after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, just 28% of voters described that issue as extremely important to their congressional vote. Now, 49% say the same. The numbers have risen across party lines, but most dramatically among Democrats. In 2014, 31% of Republican voters called gun policy extremely important to their vote. Now, 40% do. Among independents, it's risen from 27% to 42%. And among Democrats, that share has climbed a whopping 34 points from 28% to 62%. Overall, those who call the issue a critical one for their vote are supporters of stricter gun laws by an 80% to 19% margin.

Many voters also say their votes may be swayed by the types of donations a candidate accepts on gun policy. Asked whether a donation from the National Rifle Association would dissuade them or encourage them to support a candidate for Congress from their own district, 45% say they'd be less apt to support a candidate who accepted an NRA donation, 14% more likely, and 39% say it wouldn't make a difference. The effect is sharpest among Democrats, 80% of whom say they'd be less inclined to back such a candidate.

On the other side of the coin, 37% say a donation from a group advocating for stricter gun laws, such as Everytown for Gun Safety, would make them more apt to back that candidate, 26% would be less likely to support a candidate who accepted such a donation and 34% say it wouldn't move their vote.

It is early in the cycle, however, and much can change between now and November. Past polling suggests increases in concern about gun policy seen in surveys conducted shortly after mass shootings often fades over time.

The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS February 20-23 among a random national sample of 1,016 adults, including 909 registered voters, reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, it is 3.9 points for registered voters and larger for subgroups.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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