GOP voters more optimistic about '14 prospects than Democrats, poll finds


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Republicans are looking forward to next year's elections. Moreso than Democrats.

A new Pew Research Center/USA Today survey, released Friday, found 55 percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters think the party will do better next year than in recent years. One-third say it'll do about the same and 5 percent see it doing worse.

Democrats and Democrat-leaners aren't as sure about their own prospects. Forty-three percent say Democrats will do better, while an equal number thinks it'll do about the same.

Republicans need a net gain of six Senate seats to win control of that chamber. The party now controls the House of Representatives.

Here's some of Pew's analysis:

"Predictions are more closely divided than during either the 2006 or 2010 midterm election cycles. At a later point in the 2010 campaign (June 2010), fully 72 percent of Republican voters were confident in their party’s chances to do better in the midterms. By contrast, just 29 percent of Democrats thought their party would do better in 2010 than in recent elections.

"At this point in the 2006 election, Democrats were highly confident of victory. In December 2005, 64 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters expected their party to do better in the midterms; just 16 percent of Republican voters felt the same way about the GOP’s prospects.

"The overall level of voter enthusiasm for the midterms is about the same today as it was at a comparably early point in the 2010 campaign. Republicans hold a modest enthusiasm advantage: 53 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters say they are very enthusiastic about voting, compared with 47 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners. At about this point four years ago, Republicans held a much wider enthusiasm edge (57 percent to 43 percent in November 2009).

"At this early stage, registered voters split about evenly between whether they plan to vote Republican or Democratic in the 2014 midterms. Overall, 48 percent of registered voters say that if the elections for U.S. Congress were being held today, they would vote for the Democratic Party’s candidate in their district or lean toward the Democrat. Roughly as many (44 percent) say they would vote for the Republican candidate or lean Republican. Opinion is little changed since early October."

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