The Hill: Poll: Looming anti-Obama midterm vote may not carry through to 2012

A majority of voters see the midterm election as a referendum on Barack Obama, but most have not decided whether they’ll vote against the president in 2012, according to a poll by The Hill.

Seventy percent of respondents in The Hill’s latest survey of 10 battleground districts said their feelings about President Obama will play an important role in how they vote on Nov. 2.

That tracks closely with polling conducted by The Hill in other districts across the country during the past three weeks, where 69 percent of voters said Obama would affect their choices on Election Day.

The focus on Obama was high among voters in both parties; 47 percent of Republicans in the latest poll said Obama would be a very important factor in their vote, while 46 percent of Democrats said the same thing.

Yet 54 percent of those polled said Republicans winning back control of Congress this year would have no impact on their vote in 2012. An even higher number of independents, 62 percent, said a Republican Congress would have no impact on their vote for president in 2012.

The results point to a paradox of the 2010 election: While it is clear voters worried about government spending and record deficits want to put a brake on the Obama administration, they do not appear to have given up on the president.

“The results indicate voters want to see Obama move to the center and work more with Republicans, particularly on spending”, said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey.

While Penn said that the 2010 election is “in many ways” a referendum on Obama, he added: “Voters didn’t see any direct correlation between who holds Congress and who they’ll vote for president.”

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The Hill: Poll: Midterm blowout: 50 or more Dem seats set to fall in the election

Republicans are headed for a blowout election win that seems certain to seize more than enough seats to knock out the Democrats and take control of the House.

The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party.

The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House).

Of the 42 districts polled for The Hill, all but two of which are currently Democratic, 31 had Republicans in the lead. Democrats were up in just seven, and four were tied. In addition, there are some 15 Democratic districts that are so far into the GOP win column that they weren’t polled. That would suggest at least 46 GOP pickups, plus whatever the party gets out of another 40 or 50 seats that some experts believe are in play.

“We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.”

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The Hill: Poll: GOP tsunami ready to sweep the South


Nowhere are Democrats more clearly threatened with heavy defeat than in the South.

Nov. 2 looks set to reverse a trend of recent elections that suggested the blue party might claw its way back in states dominated for a generation by the GOP.

The Hill’s polling shows senior Democrats in the South, who survived earlier Republican waves, poised to fall in next week’s predicted GOP sweep.
In 42 competitive districts polled in four weeks by The Hill, white Southern Democrats face stronger headwinds than any of their colleagues.

Democrats hold 59 Southern House seats and could lose a dozen of them — helping Republicans toward the net gain of 39 they need for control of the House.

“It’s fair to say that Democrats will be devastated in the South,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, who conducted the poll. “I think the strongest deficits the Democrats are facing are in the South and in the Midwest.”

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The Hill: Poll: Majority says no ‘change’ under Obama, or change for the worse


A majority of voters in key battleground races say President Obama has either brought no change to Washington or has brought change for the worse.

In 10 competitive House districts, 41 percent of likely voters say Obama has brought change for the worse, and 30 percent say he has made no difference.

Almost two years after Obama declared on election night that “change has come to America,” only 26 percent believe he’s delivered on his promise to end business-as-usual in the capital.
Strikingly, 63 percent of voters under the age of 34 said the president either has not changed Washington or has made it worse.

In 2008, voters under the age of 30 voted 2-to-1 for Obama against his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). But in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, only 34 percent of young people say the president has effected change for the better.

The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and surveyed 4,276 voters in 10 House districts held by two-term Democrats. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percent.

“All change is not good change, and the voters are expressing overall dissatisfaction with the direction of change so far,” said pollster Mark Penn of the findings.

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The Hill: Poll: Speaker Pelosi’s ‘majority makers’ are facing possible electoral doom


Two-term Democrats, whose victories helped secure the Speaker’s job for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are facing the possibility of a near-wipeout in the Nov. 2 election.

Of 10 reelection races involving sophomore Democrats, Republican challengers are ahead in six and tied in two more, according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.


The fact that these Democrats, dubbed “majority makers” by Pelosi, are in jeopardy is a clear indication that the GOP has a good chance to run the House again after four years in the minority.

Of 32 battleground districts polled so far by The Hill this fall, Democrats are leading in only three, with four races tied. Republicans are ahead in 25.

Thirty of the 32 seats surveyed are now held by Democrats.

“Out of the 10 districts of the second-term incumbents, only one of them is outside the margin of error,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. “So virtually every one of these incumbents remains vulnerable.”

A majority of voters in all 10 districts had a negative opinion of Obama. Overall, 69 percent of voters said their views of the president will be very or somewhat important when they cast their ballots — a bad sign for Democrats.

There is still a large pool of undecided voters, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing for the Democrats, as most, Penn added, “typically will swing against an incumbent in these situations.”

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The Hill: Poll: Independents prefer cutting the deficit to spending on jobs


The Republican Party’s focus on reducing the federal deficit may be resonating with independent voters who could swing the midterm elections.

While Democrats and Republicans split along predictable partisan lines on the question of whether the government should prioritize spending on jobs or cutting the deficit, independents in 10 battleground congressional districts break sharply toward the GOP’s point of view.

Fifty-two percent of independent voters in The Hill’s 2010 Midterm Election poll cited debt reduction as a priority, compared with only 39 percent who said additional federal spending to create jobs is more important.

Overall, 47 percent of voters in the 10 districts think deficit-cutting should take precedence over employment spending, while 46 percent said the focus should be on the government’s red ink.

“The deficit is cutting against Democrats particularly because independent voters, typically, are very concerned about the deficit,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey of 4,047 voters in 10 open seats. The sample had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percent.

Penn said independent voters who make more than $100,000 per year are particularly focused on debt reduction.

“As a matter of policy, it’s closely divided, but as a matter of politics, that issue going into these midterms is favoring the Republicans,” Penn said.

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The Hill: Poll: Majority of voters say they want a viable third party in American politics

The Hill: Poll: Majority of voters say they want a viable third party in American politics
October 13, 2010

A majority of likely voters think a viable third party would be good for American politics, according to a new poll of likely voters in 10 key open House districts.

Those voters are split, however, on whether the Tea Party should be that alternative.

Fifty-four percent of respondents in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll said they’d like an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans.

That number rose to 67 percent for self-identified independents. But even a plurality in the established parties — 49 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans — said they’d like another choice.

“That’s probably the strongest number I’ve seen in a poll of people in America saying that they’re interested in a third party,” said pollster Mark Penn.

“There’s a record number of Independents and a record number of people looking for a possible third party,” he said. “And that’s a big finding. There’s an opportunity here.”

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The Hill: Poll: Republicans are up in 8 of 10 open House districts

The Hill: Poll: Republicans are up in 8 of 10 open House districts
October 13, 2010

Republicans are winning eight out of 10 competitive open House seats surveyed in a groundbreaking new poll by The Hill.

Taken on top of 11 GOP leads out of 12 freshman Democratic districts polled last week, The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll points toward 19 Republican victories out of 22 races, while Democrats win only two and one is tied.

A further 20 districts will be polled over the next two weeks, for a total of 42 of the most closely contested races, which will point to who is going to win on Nov. 2 and control the House in the 112th Congress.

The Week 2 focus on open seats vacated by Democrats suggests a string of important pickup victories by the GOP in the midterm election just three weeks away.

Republican candidates have taken big leads in two districts Democrats have held for nearly a century and a half-century, respectively, according to The Hill’s survey. A Republican is also ahead in the heavily Democratic district that contains President Obama’s hometown of Honolulu.

Many races are tight — 12 of the 22 fall within the margin of error — but the margins, though slim, preponderantly favor the GOP.

“There are a couple of bright spots for Democrats, but you’re still seeing strong Republican performance across the country, no question about it,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. He also noted that Republican pick-up opportunities in longtime Democratic strongholds are thanks to the national trend cutting against the president and the party.

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The Hill: Poll: Independents prefer divided government and are leaning Republican

The Hill: Poll: Independents prefer divided government and are leaning Republican
October 6, 2010

Independent voters are trending toward Republican candidates in toss-up districts, with a majority of them saying they want divided government rather than one-party control.

The Hill/ANGA 2010 Midterm Election Poll found that 51 percent of self-described independents prefer the president and Congress to come from different parties.

In the survey, of likely voters in 12 toss-up House districts held by first-term Democrats who arrived in Washington with President Obama, 43 percent of independents said they would vote for the Republican in their district, compared to 34 percent who said they would vote for the Democrat.

“In these districts they’re trending Republican,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. “You have to be a little bit careful in that this is a particularly volatile set of districts, but there’s no question that the independents are largely coming to the side of the Republican Party and are extremely dissatisfied with Congress.”

Throughout this cycle, congressional Republicans have stressed the need for “a check and balance” on the Obama administration. The poll indicates that message is working.

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The Hill: Poll: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal

The Hill: Poll: Dislike of healthcare law crosses party lines, 1 in 4 Dems want repeal
October 6, 2010

Healthcare reform is hurting the reelection chances of freshman Democrats in the House, according to The Hill/ANGA poll.

A majority of voters in key battleground districts favor repeal of the legislative overhaul Congress passed this year.

President Obama predicted in the spring that the new law would become popular as people learned more about it. But the poll shows Republicans strongly oppose it, independents are wary of it and a surprising number of Democrats also want it overturned.

Republicans have vowed to repeal the law if they take control of Congress, and the findings of Mark Penn, who led Penn Schoen Berland’s polling team, show that healthcare is a major issue for voters this year.

When asked if they wanted the legislation repealed, 56 percent of voters in the surveyed districts said yes. “Only Democrats were opposed to repeal (23 percent to 64 percent),” Penn said. “Undecided voters wanted the healthcare law repealed by 49 percent to 27 percent.”

In each district, a majority of those surveyed said they want the controversial law gone.

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