August 28, 2014
By John Zogby
The latest Zogby Analytics poll shows that neither party has much to brag about heading into the 2014 congressional elections. The poll of 1,223 likely voters nationwide, indicates that "if the election were held today", more voters would choose the Democratic candidate in their district than the Republican by a margin of 39% to 34%, with 6% selecting "other" and 21% still not sure.
Democrats outscore Republicans among both men and women, among all age groups except those over 65, Catholics (by 9 points), union households (50%-24%), among NASCAR fans, Investors, and the Creative Class. The only groups where GOP candidates outperform are evangelicals, whites, and voters over 65. The good news for Democrats is that their candidates score huge margins among African Americans (83% to 7%) and Hispanics (66% to 22%) – and only 10% and 8% of these key groups are undecided, indicating that they may just turnout to vote in November 2014.
The Congressional generic is not a perfect barometer because elections are district by district and many districts are safe. Democrats also have the disadvantages of both a relatively unpopular President and more seats that are on the margins. But the poll also shows little good news for the GOP. When asked who voters are most upset with, 35% say the President and the Democrats, 15% say the Republicans, and 47% say both parties. However, 54% of the Republicans are upset with Democrats and 43% of Democrats are upset with the Republicans – but 61% of independents are upset with both parties.
Like 2010, the results of this round of elections will be determined by turnout. In 2010, it was older, whiter, and more conservative voters who turned out, while many of the Democrats' base voters stayed home. Thus far in 2014, it looks like Democrats may show up at the polls and independents may just stay home because they don't like either party.
Lots can happen from this point forward. What will be the political fallout from the Ferguson riots? Will African American, Hispanic, and younger voters be energized to vote or will they be even further alienated from a system that they see as dangerous and troubling? Will the economy continue to improve so that voters can actually feel it? Will the U.S. involvement in the Middle East be effective or another quagmire? And will the Affordable Care Act be seen as a debacle to those who were already insured or a boon to those new beneficiaries? Lots to go between now and then, but for now as we head into Labor Day – advantage no one.