A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News finds that Americans are looking for a GOP-controlled Congress as a form of balance to the White House. The poll, released on Monday, shows that a majority of voters claimed they would prefer a Republican Congress as a check on President Obama’s agenda. The poll also put the president’s approval rating at 41 percent, a 5% drop from 46 percent where he stood in January-March. The poll did show some troubling signs for Republicans as well, showing that Democrats are trusted over Republicans by 40-34%. Those polled also said that they trust Democrats more on middle class and women’s issues, including same-sex marriage and minimum wage increases.
Democrats face serious obstacles as they look to the November elections, with President Obama’s approval rating at a new low and a majority of voters saying they prefer a Congress in Republican hands to check the president’s agenda, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Obama’s approval rating fell to 41 percent, down from 46 percent through the first three months of the year and the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC News polls. Just 42 percent approve of his handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.
Obama’s low rating could be a significant drag on Democratic candidates this fall — past elections suggest that when approval ratings are as low as Obama’s, the president’s party is almost certain to suffer at the ballot box in November.
Republicans are favored to maintain control of the House, with the focus now on whether they can take control of the Senate. One key question about November is who will vote. Turnout in midterm elections is always lower than in presidential elections, and at this point, key elements of the Republican coalition — namely white voters and older voters — say they are more certain to cast ballots this fall than are younger voters and minorities, two groups that Democrats and Obama relied on in 2008 and 2012.
Democrats are not without assets as the midterm election campaigns intensify. Americans trust Democrats over Republicans by 40 to 34 percent to handle the country’s main problems. By significant margins, Americans see Democrats as better for the middle class and on women’s issues. Americans favor the Democrats’ positions on raising the minimum wage, same-sex marriage and on the broad issue of dealing with global climate change.
Led by Obama, Democrats have sought to use many of these issues to draw contrasts with Republicans, both nationally and in states with the most competitive races. As yet, however, there is little evidence that those assets outweigh either the normal midterm disadvantages of the party that holds the White House or the dissatisfaction with the general direction of the country and Obama’s leadership generally.