ICYMI: Democracy Corps Poll Of the Best of the Best Has Evidence of Dem Decline.

A friend kindly sent me this blog post on a recent Democracy Corps poll that did not receive the usual Democracy Corps publicity treatment (and their usual work is noted with envy, not criticism).  In fact, as the blogger notes, there has been little to no press attention paid to the survey.

So, since my friends across the aisle at Democracy Corps didn’t spend a whole lot of time or focus analyzing the results for the public, I will do that heavy lifting for my faithful readers.

The survey was done October 6-11 among 1500 likely voters (1500!  I wish our side could fund research like that!) in 40 Democratic-held and 20 Republican-held target House seats.  They did 500 interviews in Democratic Tier 1 seats, 500 in Tier 2, and 500 in the GOP seats.  The seats are the best of the best of the best (sir!).  Democracy Corps did a similar survey back in April (40 Dem seats, 15 GOP seats, also 1500 total interviews).

As it has nationally, the political environment in these key districts has changed since April.  The mood of the country has worsened a net ten points to 37% right direction/55% wrong track (from 41% RD/49% WT).  President Obama’s job rating has dropped a net 20 points — from 55% approve/35% disapprove to 48%-48%.  More voters now strongly disapprove (39%) than strongly approve (32%).  

(The breakdown comparing Tier 1, Tier 2 Dem seats and the GOP seats is on the links to the surveys above.)

What is further noteworthy is their thermometer ratings — asking survey respondents to rate various people and organizations on a scale from zero (very cold, unfavorable) to 100 (very warm, favorable).  The rating for the Republican Party is unchanged — a 43.9 in April, and a 43.5 now (that’s margin of error shift).  However, the Democratic Party has dropped from a 49.0 in April to a 44.2 rating now. 

The Democratic Congress has dropped from 46.2 to 41.2.   The Republicans in Congress were at 43.7, but dropped a bit to 41.9 — one of the first ratings I’ve seen where GOPers score higher (albeit not by much) than Dems.

Democracy Corps also tested two key measures of ballot standing.  In seats with an incumbent, they asked a two way re-elect (which is really the best wording of the myriad of re-elects out there).  In April, Dem incumbents (and they gave the actual incumbent name) had a 39% re-elect/37% new person score.  That’s down to 40% re-elect/45% new person now — a seven point shift against the Dem incumbents.

GOP incumbents have not had the same shift.  In April they had a 39% re-elect/40% new person score, while in October it’s 40% re-elect/40% new person.  These data show that Republican incumbents in swing seats are not out of the woods — but also that Dem incumbents in a similar situation are going deeper into the woods.

The generic ballot showed similar challenges for the Dems.  In Dem seats, the Dem generic ballot lead shrunk from 39% GOP/52% Dem to 45% GOP/48% Dem (movement was similar in both Tier 1 and Tier 2).  That’s a net ten point shift for the GOP challengers.  However, Dem challengers went the wrong direction — in GOP seats in April, the GOPer lead 48%-42%.  That lead is now 48%-39%. 

Again, GOP numbers aren’t necessarily getting better (although the GOP challengers are getting more support), but the Dems are now having problems they did not have back in April.

The Democracy Corps survey has a LOT more interesting data on it — and I will be writing at least two more blog posts each of the next two days.

Public Opinion Strategies