An analysis of a new Harris poll doesn’t necessarily contain a lot of great news for beleaguered Democrats. But neither is it coming up all rosy for the GOP in the coming election, either.
If the election for the House of Representatives were held today, two in five registered voters (40 percent) would vote for the Democratic candidate and 36 percent would vote for the Republican candidate with one in five (19 percent) not at all sure.
Among those registered voters who say they are absolutely certain to vote this November, 43 percent would vote for the Republican candidate, 41 percent for the Democratic candidate and 12 percent are not at all sure. The Republicans have a larger advantage when it comes to interest in the election. Almost half (48 percent) of those registered voters who are extremely or very interested in the election say they would vote for the Republican candidate while 38 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate.
These are among the results reported by Harris based on 2,620 adults surveyed online between September 14 and 20.
The parties are mostly holding their bases with voters, as 84 percent of Republicans are voting for their party’s candidate and 81 percent of Democrats say they are voting for their candidate. However, independents are favoring Republicans, as 35 percent would vote for that party’s candidate for Congress and 23 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate, while one-quarter of independents (27 percent) are still not at all sure for whom they would vote.
There are some rays of sunshine for Democrats, however, particularly in three-way races in which a tea-party-backed is running who is separate from a Republican candidate. (Such is the case in Alaska, where tea party-supported Joe Miller took the GOP nomination way from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who remains in contention via a write-in effort. Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams is the Democrat in the race.)
In such three-way contests, among registered voters, 41 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate, 23 percent would vote for the Republican, 13 percent would vote for the Tea Party candidate and 23 percent are still not at all sure. Among those voters who say they are absolutely certain to vote, 42 percent would vote Democrat, 26 percent would vote Republican, 17 percent would vote for the Tea Party candidate and 15 percent are not at all sure.
Harris’ own analysis of its poll also makes clear that the anti-incumbent wave that the GOP is counting on to bring down the Democrats may well claim some Republican victims as well in November.
“Seeing so many incumbents defeated in primaries, as well as seeing establishment candidates lose, as well, makes it seem as if these midterm elections are a complete game-changer,” the pollster’s analysis says. “Of course, since Democrats are in power, they may suffer more losses, but it would not be a surprise to see unexpected Republicans lose, too. The morning of November 3rd should provide a very interesting post-mortem to this campaign season.”
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.