More than any other class, including Republicans in general, voters have a decided preference for non-incumbent GOP challengers. Moreover, three in four believe an influx of new members would improve Congress, says Gallup.
Please consider Americans Most Likely to Favor GOP Newcomers for Congress
Suppose you had a choice among each of the following four types of candidates for Congress. Which one would you be most likely to vote for?
Republican serving in Congress – 15%
Republican who has not served in Congress – 38%
Democrat who has not served in Congress – 16%
Democrat serving in Congress – 24%
Other – 3%
No Opinion – 4%
Overall, a majority of Americans prefer a Republican candidate (regardless of experience) to a Democrat, 53% to 40%. And a majority also prefer a non-incumbent (regardless of party affiliation) to an incumbent, 54% to 39%.
The fact that Americans who prefer a Republican candidate want one who is new to Congress suggests that these voters want both GOP control of Congress and the new perspectives that come from members with no prior Washington experience. Americans who favor Democratic candidates, on the other hand, apparently are more satisfied with the type of experienced representatives now in Congress.
One would naturally expect Democrats to prefer Democratic candidates, and Republicans to prefer Republican candidates, and that is the case when looking at the data by party. But partisans’ preferences for incumbents versus challengers seem to be influenced by their knowledge that the Democrats currently have a majority in Congress, and thus, more Democrats will be defending House seats this fall. Democrats are more likely to prefer a Democrat who is in Congress to a Democrat who is not, and Republicans are more likely to prefer a Republican outside of Congress to one who is currently serving there. Independents also show a strong preference for Republican non-incumbents.
Strong Anti-Democratic Sentiment
Gallup reports Anti-Democratic Sentiment Aids GOP Lead in 2010 Vote
The Republicans’ lead in the congressional generic ballot over the past month may be due as much to voters’ rejecting the Democrats as embracing the Republicans. Among voters backing Republican candidates, 44% say their preference is “more a vote against the Democratic candidate,” while 48% say it is “more a vote for the Republican candidate.”
The 44% of Republican voters who say they are voting more against the Democratic candidate exceeds the level of negative voting against the incumbent party that Gallup measured in the 1994 and 2006 elections, when party control shifted (from the Democrats to the Republicans after the 1994 elections and from the Republicans to the Democrats after the 2006 elections).
GOP Holds Huge Edge In Turnout Related Question
In our third poll topic, Gallup shows Republicans Hold Wide Lead in Key Voter Turnout Measure
Two months before this year’s midterm congressional elections, Gallup finds 54% of Republicans, compared with 30% of Democrats, already saying they have given “quite a lot of” or “some” thought to the contests.
Republicans’ current level of thought about the elections, from Gallup Daily tracking conducted Aug. 23-29, matches or exceeds that found in October/November of the last three midterm years. By contrast, Democrats are giving far less thought to the elections today than they did in the final weeks before the prior four midterms. As a result, Democrats are on par with independents in current attention levels — a sharp departure from recent years, when the Democrats exceeded independents on this measure.
The large party gap in “thought” suggests the typical Republican turnout advantage could be larger than usual this year if that gap persists until Election Day. Attention normally spikes as elections approach, and this is likely to occur among Democrats. However, it is unclear whether the Republicans have reached the limit for how much attention they will pay to a midterm election, or whether their attention will rise to perhaps a historic level by November. How this plays out will determine Democrats’ ability to catch up to Republicans on this measure before Election Day, and will in turn determine the size of the Republican turnout advantage.
It’s a virtual certainty that voters’ attention to the election will increase in the coming months. If this increase is proportionate between Republicans and Democrats, then the Republicans will likely maintain a formidable turnout advantage. However, it’s also possible that Republicans have merely tuned in early to the elections, leaving less room for their attention to expand — and thus giving the Democrats an opportunity to narrow the gap by November.
In Our Quick-Fix Electorate on Real Clear Politics, Eugene Robinson proclaims
…This isn’t an “electoral wave,” it’s a temper tantrum. In the punditry business, it’s considered bad form to question the essential wisdom of the American people. But at this point, it’s impossible to ignore the obvious: The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. …there’s no mistaking the public mood, and the truth is that it makes no sense.
On the contrary, this makes perfect sense. The public is fed up with how beholden Obama is to unions. They are fed up with sacrifices they have to make that government workers don’t. They are fed up with how well the political class has fared in this election vs. how well they have fared in this election. They are fed up with never-ending wars.
It’s not that people prefer Republicans by some huge margin. They don’t. They specifically prefer non-incumbent Republicans hoping for a Change. Obama promised “Change you could believe in”, but where is it? We are still bogged down in Afghanistan, Obama did not get us out of Guantanamo Bay as promised, but most importantly he did continue the same bailout strategies and surrounded himself with the same economic philosophy and same Wall Street advisors as Bush.
The public is fed up and rightfully so. The anti-union vote is going to be huge, and deservedly so.
I am increasingly confident that Republicans are going to take the House. So be prepared to Kiss Nancy Pelosi goodbye and be prepared to welcome John Boehner as the new House speaker. Perhaps we can get some real change. If not, gridlock is better than what we have seen under Obama.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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