In Two Party Race November Elections Could Go Either Way

NEW YORK, N.Y. – August 25, 2010 – During an election year, August recess for members of Congress is a time for them to reconnect with their constituents and get a little rest before they come back to D.C .for a flurry of activity for one month followed by one month of intense campaigning. This year, they need to do more reconnecting than resting, as just 15% of Americans rate the overall job Congress is doing as positive with 85% giving their job negative marks. And, while Democrats may hold control of Congress, their partisans are not being more kind – three-quarters of Democrats (73%) give Congress negative ratings as do 89% of Independents and 95% of Republicans.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,775 adults surveyed online between August 9 and 16, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

 

The November Elections

One of the stories of this election season so far has been Democratic disenchantment and Republican enthusiasm. Looking at two simple factors – voting interest and voting likelihood – shows this story continues as the summer ends. While over half of Americans (53%) say they are absolutely certain they will vote in the November elections, that numbers goes up to 63% for Republicans and only to 55% for Democrats. Interest shows a similar trend. Three in five Americans (60%) say they are interested in the House of Representatives election this year. Looking at it by party, seven in ten Republicans (71%) say they are interested versus 56% of Democrats.

Tea Party supporters are the most enthusiastic. Seven in ten of those who are Tea Party supporters (70%) and three-quarters of those who consider themselves a Tea Party member (77%) say they are absolutely certain to vote. They are also more likely to be interested in the election. Eight in ten Tea Party supporters (79%) and 88% of Tea Party members say they are interested in the House of Representative election this year.

This enthusiasm is showing itself in a tight race for the House. One-third of Americans say they would vote for the Democratic candidate (34%) and one-third say they would vote for the Republican candidate (33%) with over one-quarter still undecided (28%). Looking at just those who say they are absolutely or very certain to vote this November, the edge goes to the Republicans, as 39% say they will vote for them with 37% saying they will vote for the Democratic candidate. And, among those who are extremely or very interested in this year’s election, the Grand Old Party could see a landslide as almost half of these people (47%) say they would vote Republican compared to 35% who would vote for the Democrat.

But, if there is a Tea Party candidate in the race, things look better for the Democrats. In a three way race, 34% of Americans would vote for the Democrat, 22% would vote for the Republican and 11% would vote for the Tea Party candidate with one-third (33%) undecided. When looking at interest and likelihood to vote, the edge remains with the Democrats in the three-way race. Among those absolutely or very certain to vote, 38% would vote Democrat, 25% Republican and 14% for the Tea Party candidate. Among those extremely or very interested to vote, 36% would vote Democrat, 29% would vote Republican and 19% would vote for the Tea Party candidate.

 

So What?

The 2010 midterm elections are entering the final phase. Once Labor Day is over, the fall election cycle is in full swing. So far this year, 6 incumbents have lost in primaries around the country. Other incumbents have survived close calls. The electorate is disgruntled, but what happens over the next nine weeks will help decide two important factors. First, who will actually turn out to vote on November 2nd? And, more importantly, who are they voting for?

 

 

TABLE 1

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

15

5

27

11

Excellent

2

 

4

 

Pretty good

14

5

22

11

NEGATIVE

85

95

73

89

Only fair

35

24

48

32

Poor

49

71

25

57

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; signifies less than 1%.

 

 

TABLE 2

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

How would you rate the overall job the Congress is doing?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

TREND

Positive

Negative

%

%

2010

August

15

85

 

June

14

86

May

15

85

April

16

84

March

10

90

Jan.

16

84

2009

Dec.

17

83

 

Oct.

16

84

Sept.

19

81

Aug.

22

78

June

25

75

March

29

71

2008

October

10

86

 

August

18

77

June

13

83

February

20

76

2007

December

17

79

 

October

20

77

April

27

69

February

33

62

2006

September

24

73

 

May

18

80

February

25

71

January

25

72

Positive = excellent or pretty good. Negative = only fair or poor.

Note: Prior to March, 2009, this question was asked by telephone.

 

 

TABLE 3

VOTING LIKELIHOOD

An election for the House of Representatives will be held on November 2nd. How certain are you that you will vote?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

Will Vote

80

88

84

81

92

92

Absolutely certain I will vote

53

63

55

51

70

77

Very certain I will vote

14

14

14

17

13

11

I probably will vote

12

10

15

13

8

3

Will Not Vote

13

7

10

13

5

4

I probably will not vote

7

5

6

6

3

3

I am certain I will not vote

6

2

4

7

2

1

Not sure if I will vote

7

5

6

6

3

5

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 4

ELECTION INTEREST

How interested are you in the House of Representatives elections this year?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

Interested

60

71

56

63

79

88

Extremely interested

22

32

21

43

38

48

Somewhat interested

20

21

17

18

25

23

Interested

18

17

18

25

17

17

Not Interested

40

29

44

20

21

12

Somewhat interested

25

21

30

37

16

4

Not interested at all

15

8

14

25

5

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 5

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – TWO-PARTY RACE

If the election for the House of Representatives was being held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

34

2

77

23

12

10

Republican candidate

33

82

2

26

67

73

Other

5

2

1

12

5

6

Not at all sure

28

15

19

39

16

11

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 5B

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – TWO-PARTY RACE – VOTING INTEREST AND INTENTION

If the election for the House of Representatives was being held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Voting Interest

Voting Intention

Extremely/Very Interested (NET)

Interested

Not Interested (NET)

Absolutely/Very Certain will Vote

Probably Will Vote

Will Not Vote (NET)

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

34

35

35

24

37

37

25

Republican candidate

33

47

42

12

39

37

11

Other

5

5

5

9

4

5

8

Not at all sure

28

13

18

56

19

22

56

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 6

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – THREE-PARTY RACE

If the election for the House of Representatives was being held today and all three were an option, who would you vote for?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

34

1

77

24

10

6

Republican candidate

22

57

1

16

39

23

Tea Party candidate

11

20

2

15

27

56

Not at all sure

33

22

20

45

23

15

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 6B

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – THREE-PARTY RACE – VOTING INTEREST AND INTENTION

If the election for the House of Representatives was being held today and all three were an option, who would you vote for?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

Total

Voting Interest

Voting Intention

Extremely/Very Interested (NET)

Interested

Not Interested (NET)

Absolutely/Very Certain will Vote

Probably Will Vote

Will Not Vote (NET)

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

34

36

36

24

38

37

28

Republican candidate

22

29

26

10

25

24

12

Tea Party candidate

11

19

16

4

14

13

2

Not at all sure

33

16

22

62

23

26

58

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 7

TEA PARTY FAMILIARITY

How familiar are you with the Tea Party Movement?

Base: All U.S. adults

 

March

2010

May

2010

June

2010

August

2010

%

%

%

%

Familiar (NET)

76

85

86

86

Very familiar

15

22

20

20

Somewhat familiar

39

44

48

44

Not that familiar

22

19

18

22

Not familiar (NET)

24

15

14

14

Not at all familiar

16

10

11

11

Never heard of

8

5

4

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 8

TEA PARTY SUPPORT

Do you support or oppose the Tea Party Movement?

[Asked of all adults excluding those who are not at all familiar or have never heard of the Tea Party Movement]

Base: All U.S. adults

 

March

2010

May

2010

June

2010

Aug

2010

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Support (NET)

33

38

37

38

70

13

42

Strongly support

14

18

16

15

34

5

12

Somewhat support

19

20

22

23

36

8

30

Oppose (NET)

23

30

31

29

5

51

31

Somewhat oppose

9

11

11

11

4

14

15

Strongly oppose

14

19

19

18

1

37

16

Not at all sure

20

17

17

19

18

20

16

Not asked/Not familiar at all/ Never heard of

24

15

14

14

8

16

11

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 9

TEA PARTY MEMBER

Would you describe yourself as a member of the Tea Party?

[Asked of all adults excluding those who are not at all familiar or have never heard of the Tea Party Movement]

Base: All U.S. adults

 

May

2010

June

2010

Aug

2010

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

10

8

7

17

1

6

No

75

77

79

76

83

83

Not asked/Not familiar at all/ Never heard of

15

14

14

8

16

11

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9 to 16, 2010 among 2,775 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J38557

Q1215, 1220, 1225, 1230, 1235, 1240, 1245, 1250

The Harris Poll ® #100, August 25, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

 

 

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