Dem lead on generic House ballot slips in new poll showing support for outsiders

Dem lead on generic House ballot slips in new poll showing support for outsiders
© Greg Nash

Democrats hold a slim advantage over Republicans for control of the House in a new poll that shows a majority of voters want political outsiders to shake up Congress.

Democrats showed a 5-point advantage over Republicans on a generic House ballot in the Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, a lead that has shrunk from double digits in previous surveys.

A majority of voters — 52 percent — also told pollsters they would support a congressional candidate seen as a "political outsider" over a more establishment-friendly "political insider," while just 25 percent said the opposite.

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Voters still indicated that they value political experience, however, with 61 percent saying it is a positive characteristic for a candidate while 22 percent say it would be a net negative.

Republicans were more likely to value "political outsiders" (62 percent) while independents agreed (61 percent). Democrats were more likely to see political experience as a positive attribute (75 percent) while just 34 percent of Democrats want to see "outsiders" elected.

Health care continues to dominate as Americans' top concern heading into November, according to the poll, with 28 percent of voters saying a candidate's stance on the issue would be their most important factor when deciding their vote.

Economic policy (19 percent) and immigration (18 percent) trailed as the next two most-important issues for Americans, while the percentage of Americans who say gun control is the most important issue facing the country has fallen to 13 percent.

“Health care looks like the issue that could give Democrats the most leverage among persuadable midterm voters. It really comes down to family finances – ‘Can I pay my bills?’ Republicans, on the other hand, need to convince more voters that they are better off now than they were two years ago,” said Monmouth poll director Patrick Murray.

Monmouth's poll contacted 805 adults age 18 and older between Aug. 15-19. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.