Polls Offer Grim Outlook for Democrats in November

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CBS/ AP

A series of polls released today paint a grim picture for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. Likely voters surveyed say they favor Republicans over Democrats, and they trust the GOP more to handle issues like the economy.

In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 53 percent of likely voters said they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district if the midterm elections were today, while 40 percent would vote for the Democrat. (Worth noting: the two parties are nearly tied when it comes to the preferences of voters overall, not just likely voters.)

Among voters overall, independents -- a critical voting bloc -- say they would support Republican over Democratic candidates in their House districts by a 13-point margin.

And 55 percent of voters overall in the poll said it's more important to have Republicans lead Congress to serve as a check on President Obama's agenda than to have Democrats in control to support Mr. Obama's agenda. Just 39 percent said the opposite.

Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed voters split, 43 percent to 43 percent, about whether they favored a Republican-controlled Congress or a Democratically-controlled Congress. Likely voters, however, favor a Republican-controlled Congress, 49 percent to 40 percent.

The economic outlook among those surveyed by the Wall Street Journal is pessimistic -- just 26 percent think the economy is going to get better in the next year, down from 47 percent a year earlier. As many as 61 percent say the country is on the wrong track.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released today shows that 46 percent of Americans say that Republicans in Congress would do a better job dealing with the economy, compared with 43 percent who say Democrats would do a better job. While the results are within the poll's margin of error, independents favor Republicans on the issue by 51 percent to 32 percent.

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The Post/ABC poll shows voters favoring Republicans over Democrats on the economy by 43 percent to 39 percent. While it is a small advantage, this is the first time this poll has found Republicans to have any lead on the economy since 2002.

Perceptions about the president do not appear to be helping Democrats. The Wall Street Journal poll puts Mr. Obama's approval rating at 45 percent, with 49 percent disapproving.

The margin is wider in the Post/ABC poll, in which 46 percent of Americans approve of the job of the president is doing, but 52 percent disapprove. Among independents surveyed, 57 percent disapproved of the job Mr. Obama is doing.

The polling outcomes suggest Republicans could very well take control of the House -- something three professors are predicting after running a series of simulations of the elections. Republicans have a 79 percent chance of winning the House, according to Professors Joseph Bafumi of Dartmouth College, Robert Erikson of Columbia University and Christopher Wlezien of Temple University. Their model suggests the most likely scenario is for Democrats to lose 50 seats this November, leaving Republicans with a 229-206 advantage.

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