Poll: 3 in 10 will vote to show opposition to Obama

Thirty percent of registered voters say that when they vote in the fall midterm elections, they will be voting to express opposition to President Obama, according to a recent Gallup poll.

The number is identical to the amount expressing that sentiment in October 2010, shortly before a decisive Republican victory in that year’s midterms. It is also just 1 point less than the level of opposition shown towards President George W. Bush in 2006, prior to a major Democratic victory that year.

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Twenty-four percent of respondents said their vote would be a sign of support for Obama, a slight uptick from the 22 percent who said so in 2010. Forty-three percent said their vote was not intended to send a message.

Unsurprisingly, voter responses had an extremely partisan dimension. Sixty-four percent of Republicans said their vote was a sign of opposition of Obama, compared to 31 percent of Independents and only 6 percent of Democrats. On the other side, 54 percent of Democrats said their vote was to support Obama, against just 11 percent of Independents and a 2 percent of Republicans.

Historical polling appears to indicate that Obama has a greater importance to the midterms than his predecessor. In George W. Bush’s two midterm races, 53 and 46 percent of voters said their vote was not meant to send a message of support or opposition to Bush. During the 1998 midterms, when Gallup conducted four separate polls, no more than 47 percent ever characterized their vote as a message to Bill Clinton.

The poll was conducted from April 24-30, with a random sample of 1,336 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.