Poll: Dems face midterm enthusiasm gap

Democrats and Republicans are tied in a head-to-head congressional matchup for this November's midterm elections, but Republicans hold an enthusiasm advantage, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The survey, conducted among 1,420 registered voters from July 8-14, found that 47 percent of respondents said they’d support or lean toward the Democrat in their district if the election were held today, while 45 percent said the same of the Republican candidate.

However, 45 percent of respondents who preferred Republicans said they are more enthusiastic about voting than in previous congressional elections, while 37 percent of Democrats said the same.

The enthusiasm gap has been a persistent problem for Democrats this cycle and remains a major impediment to their hopes of picking up the 17 seats needed to regain a majority in the House. They’re facing a difficult political climate and unfavorable historic trends, as the party in power in the White House typically loses seats in a midterm year.

Voters are dissatisfied with Congress overall, with 28 percent viewing it favorably and less than half, 48 percent, saying they want to see their own representative reelected. Fifty-five percent of voters, a record amount, said this Congress has done less than usual.

There, Democrats might see an opening, as 44 percent of respondents blame Republicans for this inaction, while 28 percent blame Democrats.

Control of Congress motivates Democrats and Republicans alike — 62 percent of voters in both parties say that’s a factor in their vote.

But the survey underscores the fact that President Obama won’t do much to help Democrats this cycle, as he’s a far more of a powerful motivating factor for Republicans than Democrats. While about half of Republicans say they see their vote as one against the president, 36 percent of Democrats say their vote will be a vote for the president.

The survey was conducted via landline and cellphone and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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