Political Perspectives

Voters voice concerns about Congress, economy in latest GW-Politico Battleground Poll.

September 16, 2010

Voters voice concerns about Congress, economy in latest GW-Politico Battleground Poll.

If the 2012 presidential election were held today President Obama would lose to the Republican candidate, according to 1,000 registered voters in the latest GW-Politico Battleground Poll.

Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners announced the latest results at GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium Sept. 16. Jim VandeHei, executive editor and co-founder of POLITICO, and Chris Arterton, GW professor of political management, served as co-moderators.

In his introduction, President Steven Knapp called the new partnership between Politico and GW “extraordinary,” adding that the poll provides information to voters so they can “make the kind of decisions our nation depends on.”

Polled nationwide Sept. 7-9, the voters shared opinions on a number of political topics, including the economy, taxes and “wasteful spending,” as well as their thoughts on both the upcoming congressional election and 2012 presidential election.

According to the poll, 62 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and 64 percent disapprove of Congress’ job performance as a whole, a 4 percent decrease since the last survey. The survey also found that President Obama has a job approval rating of 45 percent.

Fifty-seven percent disapprove of the job of congressional Democrats, while 58 percent disapprove of the job of congressional Republicans. If the midterm elections were held today, 45 percent believe that Republicans will take control the House and 46 percent believe Republicans will take control of the Senate. However, the Democratic and Republican parties are tied at 43 percent when matched in a congressional generic ballot. In addition, 25 percent still blame President George W. Bush for the economy.

“This election is shaping up to be a perfect storm of Republican intensity,” said Mr. Goeas, “with a White House that has lost focus, angry Independents and a political environment in which Republicans hold an advantage or are even on all the key issues for voters.”

Ms. Lake said opportunities remain for Democrats to “turn the ship around.”

“The Democrats tie the Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, have better approval numbers in Congress than their Republican counterparts, and have a president and vice president who have more personal popularity than any other national political figures in Washington,” she said. “If the Democrats can engage their base, do a better job setting the narrative framework and remind voters what is at stake, they have a real opportunity to keep Republican victory laps to a minimum.”

First conducted in 1991, the Battleground Poll offers the distinct perspectives of top pollsters from different sides of the aisle—something unique in the industry. The bipartisan poll is sponsored by GW’s Graduate School of Political Management and is developed by research firms Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group. Politico joined GW as a partner in 2010. GW’s Global Media Institute serves as the university’s administrative home for the partnership and GW’s Gelman Library houses the data archive of the survey results dating back more than two decades.

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