Democrats Have Edge in November, NPR Poll Shows

Poll Results

The poll was conducted for NPR Oct. 6-13, 2006, by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. It consisted of a telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters in the 48 most competitive congressional districts. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.1 percentage points.

Pie chart: Named candidates

Democrats lead against Republican congressional candidates, according to the poll. Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research hide caption

itoggle caption Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
Pie chart: Generic ballot

Democrats also maintain a significant advantage on a generic ballot, where no specific congressional candidate is mentioned. Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research hide caption

itoggle caption Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
Pie chart: Voter enthusiasm

Voters say they are more enthusiastic about participating in this year's elections compared to previous elections, according to the NPR poll. Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research hide caption

itoggle caption Public Opinion Strategies/Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research

Three weeks before the November election, likely voters continue to be pessimistic about the direction the country is heading and they disapprove of President Bush's performance, according to a new NPR poll. Against that backdrop, Democrats hold a growing margin in the battle for control of the U.S. House, the poll shows.

The pollsters, Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger, surveyed 1,000 likely voters in 48 of the most competitive congressional districts Oct. 6-13.

Asked whom they'd vote for in their congressional district, 51 percent said they would pick the Democratic candidate and 40 percent would vote for the Republican. The remaining 9 percent were undecided or declined to answer. And a majority of moderates — 59 percent — said they plan to vote for Democrats running for Congress.

Voters, especially Democrats, were more eager to vote in this year's election than in past elections, according to the poll. Overall, 50 percent of those surveyed said they were more enthusiastic, but 69 percent of Democrats were more interested in the 2006 election.

Most poll participants said the country is on the wrong track (64 percent), while only 32 percent said things were heading in the right direction. Those results were similar to those in the previous NPR poll conducted in July. Voters also continue to give President Bush bad marks, with 56 percent disapproving of his performance — nearly the same as in July.

The war in Iraq has overtaken jobs and the economy as the top issue on voters' minds, the latest poll found. In July, 17 percent listed the economy as their top concern, followed by the war at 14 percent. This month, 23 percent say the war is the most important campaign issue and the economy 13 percent.

Terrorism/national security is listed as the top issue for 15 percent of likely voters, up from 10 percent in July.

Voters were asked about the political impact of the scandal surrounding Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), who resigned after sending inappropriate messages to teenage boys who served as congressional pages. More than half — 53 percent — said they saw it as an isolated incident of wrongdoing and that it would not affect how they would vote in November. Forty-two percent said it shows that GOP leaders are more interested in holding on to power than in protecting teenage pages.

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