CNN has a poll out today with some interesting results. On one had the poll found that nationwide Democratic candidate have a slight advantage. However, the situation changes when you look at competitive congressional districts. In those districts, the GOP has an advantage.
Among likely voters nationwide, the race is a tight split, with 50% backing the Democratic candidate and 47% behind the Republican. But in competitive congressional districts, Democratic support among likely voters dips and preferences tilt toward the Republicans: 48% of likely voters in that group prefer the Republican candidate, 43% the Democrat.
Voters are narrowly more likely to say that Republican candidates near them have a clear plan for solving the country’s problems (32%) than they are to say the same about Democratic candidates (28%). In a notable party divide, Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to see their own party’s candidates as having a clear plan for solving problems (71% of Republicans say GOP candidates have such a plan vs. 59% of Democrats who say the same about their party’s nominees).
The margin of error among likely voters is 4% so the GOP advantage in competitive districts is just barely outside of that. Democrats also have an enthusiasm gap to worry about.
Republican registered voters nationwide and in competitive congressional districts are a bit more likely to say they are deeply motivated to vote than are Democratic registered voters (52% extremely motivated among Republicans nationally, 46% among Democrats; in competitive districts, it’s 55% among Republicans vs. 45% among Democrats).
But the big issue for Democrats remains voter priorities. Their party has fully embraced abortion as a central issue but that’s nowhere near the top of the list of concerns for most voters. What voters do care about most is the economy and inflation. And that’s especially true in those competitive districts.
The economy and inflation remain a central focus for nearly all voters, with broad majorities saying each of those is extremely or very important in deciding their vote for who to send to Congress (90% economy, 84% inflation). Voting rights and election integrity (85% important) and gun policy (83% important) are similarly important. Fewer say abortion (72%) or immigration (72%) are as important, with 60% calling climate change important to their vote.
In competitive congressional districts, the economy and inflation take on added importance. While 59% of registered voters nationally call the economy extremely important to their vote, that rises to 67% in those districts, and the share calling inflation that important rises from 56% to 64%.
One thing I find odd about this poll is that it doesn’t ask about crime, only about “gun policy.” That sounds a lot like gun control but also might have some overlap with concern about crime. Other recent polls, including this one from Politico earlier this month, show voters are very concerned about crime.
More than three-quarters of voters said violent crime is a major problem in the United States, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday, demonstrating why the issue has become a key to the battle for control of Congress this fall…
Only 17 percent of respondents called crime a minor problem, and 2 percent said it was not a problem at all…
Voters identified two leading policy prescriptions for fixing crime: more funding for police departments and stricter gun control laws, both of which drew 37 percent of respondents who thought those changes would decrease crime a lot.
All of this sounds like a scenario where Democrats have a surface level advantage in polling which likely won’t translate into winning close elections. That seems to match up with FiveThirtyEight’s estimation that Democrats have a slight generic ballot advantage of about one point while still favoring Republicans to win the House 70-30. And if you’re curious, they favor Democrats to retain control of the Senate by slightly narrower odds, 66-34.