WaPo/ABC Poll: Democrat advantage on voter preferences and enthusiasm shrinks

WaPo/ABC Poll: Democrat advantage on voter preferences and enthusiasm shrinks

WaPo/ABC Poll: Democrat advantage on voter preferences and enthusiasm shrinks

Democrats' advantage over Republicans ahead of the midterm elections is slipping as the gun control debate becomes a wildcard issue, according to a poll The Washington Post published Monday. "For the good of the country, the Democrats must take back one or both houses of Congress".

Self-reported registration is one indicator as it is less a measure of actual registration than of political engagement.

Further, among Republican likely voters, 95 percent say they would vote for their party's candidate, which is up from 89 percent in January and now matches the level among Democrats, 95 percent.

In the five House seats now held by a Republican, voter preference is split 46 percent for the GOP candidate and 44 percent for the Democrat, according to the poll. That four-point margin compares with a 12-point advantage Democrats held in January.

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President Trump is dragging down New Jersey Republicans, according to the poll.

The result is a mixed bag for the Republican Party, which has been hoping to battle political headwinds in the midterm elections by promoting the tax cut that Congress approved four months ago and by celebrating improvements in the economy. More than 6 in 10 voters, 61 percent, disapproved of the job he was doing as president, compared with 35 percent who viewed his performance positively. The share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents who report being registered to vote has slipped from 84 percent in November to 79 percent in January and 75 percent now.

Although public activism has put pressure on Republicans and the National Rifle Association, the Post-ABC poll suggests that neither party holds an advantage in support among the 42 percent of voters who say it's "extremely important" that a congressional candidate share their views on the issue. Among registered voters, 68 percent of both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning registered voters say they are certain they will vote. The added cash will help Democrats pour more money into advertising and voter outreach efforts.

Boston-area billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman will now start funding mostly Democrats after a history of giving large donations to Republicans.

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His money has been spread out to Democrats running for 56 House seats and 22 Senate contests, including checks to Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. (This is much less negative than Trump's 57-36 percent unfavorable-favorable score, albeit with a substantially higher share of don't knows.) As such, Pelosi's impact looks like a wash overall - except, potentially, in terms of motivating the Republican base. Although 58 percent of all adults say they are sure they will vote this year, that falls to fewer than 4 in 10 among adults younger than 30.

The Journal/NBC News poll was conducted April 8-11 and included 900 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of NY, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Rockville, Md.

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