GOP has edge in new Battleground poll


McClatchy Washington Bureau

A huge majority sees America on the wrong track--strong evidence that the future of the economy will be a dominant issue in November’s elections.

Those were among the key findings of the new George Washington University Battleground Poll, released Wednesday.

So far, Republicans maintain advantages, said Christopher Arterton, poll director and GW professor of political management. The party has a 46-42 percent edge over Democrats in a generic test of sentiment towards congressional candidates.

“Despite the public's antipathy toward Congress, particularly toward the Republican leadership in the House, President Obama has become a lightening rod for discontent on a number of fronts,” he said.

The poll is taken in partnership with the Tarrance Group, a Republican pollster, and Lake Research Partners, a Democratic firm.

Seventy percent of Americans said the country is on the wrong track, up from 64 percent in March, and nearly one in four said the economy is “most likely to drive their pick for Congress.” Second most prominent issue was “behavior of your member of Congress,” at 15 percent.

Republicans have a 7 percentage point advantage on economic matters, as 49 percent had more confidence in the party to deal with such issues. But Republicans had only a 47-46 issue as the party that would best deal with jobs.

Democrats do have some advantages. They did better than Republicans when people were asked who would do a better job dealing with Medicare and Social Security. A slight majority said the party will stand up for the middle class and represent middle class values. And Democrats do well with women, younger voters and voters of color.

The poll also found “the American electorate does not hold any politician in Washington in very high standing.” Obama’s disapproval rating is 51 percent, and Congress’ is 79 percent.

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