What Election Outcome Do Voters Really Want?

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Given a choice of three potential outcomes for the November election, Americans underscore their lack of love for the political parties by opting for none of the above.

The latest WSJ/NBC poll offered respondents the choice of three outcomes for the election, and asked whether each was acceptable or unacceptable. A plurality of voters turned thumbs down to each.

So, voters aren’t happy with the idea of Republican control of the House and Senate. Nor are they happy with Democratic control of the House and Senate. But, they are most unhappy with the idea of keeping things the way they are. No plan D was offered in the survey or in the Constitution either.

Independents turn a cold shoulder to all three options.  Only 32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Independents say a Democratic controlled Congress is acceptable, while 46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say it is unacceptable.  These swing voters are not much more sanguine about a Republican controlled Congress, as 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Independents say it is acceptable and 43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say it is unacceptable.  Keeping Congress the way it is currently does not elicit excitement either – just 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Independents say split control is acceptable while 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say it is not.

Somewhere, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is humming the Rolling Stones: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some times, you get what you need.”  Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is whistling Billy Joel: “Don’t go changin’ to try and please me.”

No matter which rocker our Senate leaders channeling, there’s no pleasing the public.  But that’s not the fault of the voters.

Glen Bolger, a leading Republican strategist and pollster, is a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. The data is from Wall Street Journal/NBC polls conducted by Democratic pollster Fred Yang at Hart Research Associates and Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies. Mr. Bolger is on Twitter: @posglen

Public Opinion Strategies