CNN Poll: Democrats' midterm advantage holds among likely voters

Democrats maintain a wide lead over Republicans in the race for control of the House of Representatives, a n...

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 3:20 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 3:20 AM

Democrats maintain a wide lead over Republicans in the race for control of the House of Representatives, a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS finds, including a 10-point lead among those most likely to turn out this November.

In a generic ballot test, 52% of likely voters back the Democratic candidate for House of Representatives in their district while 42% back the Republican. Among all registered voters, Democrats hold a 12-point margin over the GOP, suggesting preferences have not shifted much since an August CNN Poll, which did not include an assessment of likely voters.

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RELATED: Full poll results.

The new poll marks the first time this election season CNN has looked at preferences among likely voters. Typically, likely voters in midterm elections are a bit more Republican-leaning than the broader pool of registered voters. This year, Democrats are expressing just as much interest in voting as Republicans, and voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents continue to be more enthusiastic about casting a ballot for Congress than those who tilt toward the GOP (56% are extremely or very enthusiastic vs. 50% of Republican voters).

The results of the poll suggest a midterm environment that is looking a lot like 2006, when Democrats took control of the House amid widespread voter dissatisfaction with Republican president George W. Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq. In 2010, backlash to President Barack Obama and the passage of Obamacare led to the organization of the ideological Tea Party movement, which boosted Republicans back into control of the House. In September of 2006, CNN polling also found Democrats with a 10-point lead over Republicans on the generic ballot.

The President is a negative motivator for a majority of voters, according to the poll, with 54% saying they would be more apt to support a candidate who opposes President Trump. About a third (36%) say they're partial to supporting a candidate who backs the President. Those figures have shifted against Trump since the question was last asked in May (48% said they'd prefer an anti-Trump candidate in that poll, 43% a pro-Trump one).

Views of the President are closely tied to preferences in the House ballot: Among those likely voters who approve of the way the President is handling his job, 89% plan to back the Republican in their district, while 87% of those who disapprove favor the Democrat.

And more Americans say the country would be better off (40%) than worse off (28%) should Democrats take control of Congress in this November's elections. That's a wider margin that felt the nation would be better off should Republicans take control back in 2010. Only about a quarter now (27%) say it doesn't make a difference, fewer than felt that way in 2014 or 2010, suggesting voters see this year's contest as more consequential.

The results come as multiple polls show similar shifts in the Democrats' favor in the dynamics of the midterm race. It is the third poll released in the past two days to show Democrats with a double-digit lead over Republicans on a generic ballot question.

The poll shows Democrats with a huge advantage among women likely voters, 60% say they back the Democrat in their district compared with 36% for the Republican. Among men, Republicans hold a slim 5-point edge. And as in 2016, education is a sharp divider among white voters. Those without college degrees broadly back the Republican (57% for the Republican to 38% for the Democrat) while those who hold four-year degrees favor the Democrat by a similar margin (59% to 37%).

Voters on both sides of the battle for the House say they are largely casting votes to support their candidate rather than to make a stand against their opponent. About 6 in 10 voters who choose the Democrat in their district say they are doing so more to vote for the Democrat than against the Republican. Likewise, 60% of Republican backers say they're casting a supportive vote for the GOP more than one against the Democrats.

Diverse Candidates

As this year's primary season comes to a close, the slate of candidates chosen includes a diversity of backgrounds not often seen in American politics. With a record number of female candidates on major party tickets for Congress and groundbreaking candidates from racial, ethnic and religious minorities landing on ballots across the country, many Americans are now choosing among candidates who resemble them for the first time. The new poll finds a majority of Americans feel it is extremely or very important for Congress to represent the country's demographic makeup (62% say so), about the same share who say it's that important for Congress to represent the nation's political makeup in partisanship and ideology (63%). More, 67%, say it's critical for Congress to represent the nation's economic diversity.

Women (69%) and non-whites (70%) are more apt than men or whites to consider a demographically-representative Congress deeply important. Democrats (82%) say it's more important than Republicans (44%). Democrats are also more likely than Republicans to say it's important for Congress to represent the nation's political makeup in terms of partisanship and ideology (76% among Democrats to 55% among Republicans). The economic makeup of Congress is also important to Democrats, who say Congress should represent the country in terms of income and education (78% among Democrats to 59% among Republicans).

Looking Ahead to 2020 Democrats

And looking ahead to the next major election to come -- the presidential nominating contests -- the Democrats who are among the top contenders for their party's presidential nomination are generally viewed more favorably than unfavorably by their partisans. But outside of the very top tier of candidates, many potential presidential hopefuls are widely unknown.

Former Vice President Joe Biden earns near universal positive reviews among his partisans, 86% have a favorable opinion. Bernie Sanders, who finished second to Hillary Clinton in 2016, isn't far behind with 78% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents holding positive views of him. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also earns majority-positive ratings among the Democratic electorate at 57% favorability.

Majorities of the Democratic electorate are unsure, however, about Cory Booker (53%), Kamala Harris (55%) and Deval Patrick (84%). Among those who do have an opinion about each of them, the reviews are largely positive.

The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS September 6 through 9 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, for the subset of 923 registered voters, it is plus or minus 3.9 and for the 775 likely voters plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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