Law and Politics

Democrats Lead Republicans in Congressional Poll

September 17, 2014
By John Zogby

One thing you should know before I even get started: I have never missed a Congressional generic ballot yet. No other polling company has published a generic ballot in September so this is the first out of the chute and the new Zogby Analytics matchup shows the Democrats leading by 12 points – 42% to 30%. Now, in the full interests of truth, the Congressional generic is not the best barometric reading for an election outcome, but it is at least a useful trend to watch. So this is not a prediction but look at what we found.

The Democrats hold a double digit lead among both men (43%-29%) and women (40%-30%). They also lead 64% to 10% among 18-29 year olds and 44% to 28% among 30-49 year olds. The Republicans lead among older voters, however – 41% to 31% among 50-64 year olds and 38% to 31% among those over 65. The "Democratic congressional candidate" does better among Democrats (87% to 3%) than the "Republican congressional candidate" does among Republicans (74% to 7%). The same is true among liberals who support the Democrat in their district (83% to 6%), while conservatives only back the Republican 61% to 15%.

But the real story here in this poll is to be found among both independents and moderates – two groups that are separate and distinct. Self-described moderates choose Democrats by a wide margin – 42% to 19%, with 6% selecting "other" and 34% undecided. That might not mean a hill of beans in November because there are so many gerrymandered safe districts that moderates don't mean much. But independents are the truly interesting ones, only half of whom are moderates, with two in three of the remaining describing themselves as conservatives. In this new Zogby poll 20% say they will vote for the Democrat, 16% for the Republican, 15% say "other" and 49% are undecided. That certainly tells a story right there. First, we have no idea how many of these independents will actually turn out to vote. Second, the groups that the GOP normally count on are more likely to be undecided today – for example, whites (27%), as opposed to African Americans (11%) and Hispanics (8%), and Protestants (24%). Even one in three Born Again/Evangelical voters is undecided.

District by district, the GOP is favored to hold on to the House of Representatives majority. But, at least for now, there is no sign of a wave in their favor, something that had started to take shape at this point in time in 2010.

September 17, 2014

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