Political Climate Is More Challenging for Democrats One-Year After Inaugural SurveyMay 4, 2010
In the year since Resurgent Republic conducted its inaugural survey in April 2009, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have seen dramatic deterioration of their public standing, driven by disaffection from Independent voters who have steadily moved toward siding with Republican policymakers on fiscal, domestic and national security policies. Today, by more than a two-to-one margin, self-identified Independents think “we need more Republicans in Congress to act as a check and balance on runaway Washington government that is bankrupting the country and mortgaging our children's future” versus those who think “more Republicans in Congress will lead to more gridlock and stand in the way of President Obama's agenda to create jobs and make needed reforms to our economy.”
On most issues across the policy spectrum, Independents approach a two-to-one alignment with the conservative or Republican perspective over the liberal or Democratic perspective. That mirrors the margins for winning Republican statewide candidates in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts in the last seven months, and indicates the potential for significant Democratic losses this fall if they do not make gains among Independents.
Voters are more likely to say the country is on the wrong track now than they were a year ago. Likely voters say the country is on the wrong track by a 59 to 33 percent margin compared to a 50 to 40 percent margin a year ago. Independents say the country is on the wrong track by a 65 to 25 percent margin, compared to a 52 to 34 percent margin a year ago. The economy remains the most important issue (38 percent now versus 57 percent last year), with increased mentions for health care (16 percent now versus 5 percent last year) and government spending (8 percent now versus 6 percent last year). Concern about spending is similar to that about health care for Independents (11 and 12 percent, respectively).
Republicans are more likely to vote in the 2010 election than either Independents or Democrats. Republicans currently hold an advantage in intensity, with 64 percent of Republicans saying they are absolutely certain to vote in the elections for Congress this year, compared to 59 percent of Independents and 58 percent of Democrats.
Democrats in Congress are now viewed less favorably than Republicans in Congress. Democrats in Congress hold a 50 to 41 percent unfavorable image, after holding a 45 to 42 percent favorable image last April. Independents view Democrats in Congress unfavorably by a 55 to 31 percent margin (45 to 39 percent unfavorable last year). The 47 to 40 percent unfavorable rating for Republicans (52 to 34 percent among Independents) is similar to the rating last April (47 to 37 percent overall, including 47 to 32 percent among Independents).
Republicans have an advantage on the generic ballot. Voters prefer Republicans on the generic congressional ballot by a 42 to 38 percent margin, including a 39 to 27 percent margin among Independents.
Majorities of voters want more Republicans in Congress to serve as a check and balance on runaway Washington government.
Congressman A says more Republicans in Congress will lead to more gridlock and stand in the way of President Obama's agenda to create jobs and make needed reforms to our economy.
Congressman B says we need more Republicans in Congress to act as a check and balance on runaway Washington government that is bankrupting the country and mortgaging our children's future.
A majority of voters agrees that more Republicans are needed to provide a check and balance by 51 to 40 percent, including a two-to-one margin among Independents (61 to 28 percent).
Filed under: Political Climate