Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

October 4, 2014 11:57 AM

The Races

14% approve of the way Congress is doing its job. This has been the average approval rating for all of 2014. This is somewhat higher than the 9% approval recorded earlier this year. Among those who follow national politics closely, only 8% approve of the job being done by Congress.

40% of adult Americans “care a great deal” about who controls Congress. This includes 43% of Republicans and Republican leaners, and an equal number of Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Only 36% of adults can correctly identify which Party controls each of the two houses of the Federal Government. [Gallup 9/14]

Currently, by a margin of 45% to 43%, registered voters prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans as opposed to a Congress controlled by Democrats. A year ago they preferred a Congress controlled by Democrats, 46% to 43%. [NBC/WSJ 9/14]

In a survey conducted three weeks later than the 9/14 NBC/WSJ survey, the NBC/WSJ/Annenberg survey found a shift in public preference for control of the Congress, with 47% preferring Democratic control and 42% preferring Republican control. (Take your pick.)

Women prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats by 47% to 40%, but just over a month ago that preference was 51% to 37%. This is one of several areas in which women’s support of the Democrats is showing signs of slippage. [NBC/WSJ 9/14]

In June of 2014 women felt positively about the Democratic Party by 44%- 36%. That positive feeling has been reduced to 39%-37%. [NBC/WSJ 9/14]

30% of registered voters approve of the way that the Democrats in Congress are handling their job. Only 19% of these voters approve of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their job. [NYT/CBS 9/14]

Overall, the public, by 36% to 26%, thinks the Republican Party would do a better job than the Democratic Party in handling the economy. Women hold the same view by a lesser number, 32% Republicans to 28% Democrats. However, a year ago, when the public at large thought Republicans would do a better job by 33% to 29%, women thought the Democrats would do a better job by 33% to 39%. [NBC/WSJ 9/14]

When it comes to the re-election of the current members of Congress, 87% believe that it is time for new people, and 63% have that view about their own representative in Congress. Both of these results represent the highest number of people who have held that view since this question came into use in the early 1990s. [NYT/CBS 9/14]

In any mid-term election, there is always the question of whether the standing of the President will affect the outcome in individual States. Recent polls in at least four contestable States find the President’s approval rating below his national score. In Iowa it is 37%; in Arkansas it is 33%; in Kentucky it is 29%; and in New Hampshire it is 35%. [CNN/ORC]

Andrew Kohut, founder of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, does not believe that the mid-term elections are a referendum on President Obama’s competence. In his view the “public is unhappy with the performance of both Parties in Washington,” the elections are a referendum on the times, and he believes that the country has a “chronic case of pessimism.” [NYT 8/14]

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