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Poll: A Week Before Election, Obama’s Low Job Approval Pointing to GOP Senate Takeover

Obama votes next to Aia Cooper (left)
Obama votes

With just a week to go before the midterm elections, a new CNN poll contains bad news for President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party: 68 percent of Americans are angry at the direction the country is headed and 53 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance — with the disapproval ratings highest in the states Democrats desperately need to win to hold onto the Senate.

The current breakdown is this: The GOP holds a 234-201 margin in the House; in the Senate, Democrats hold a 55-45 margin (including two seats held by independents who typically vote with the Dems), meaning Republicans need to gain six seats for a majority.

While 30 percent of respondents in the CNN/ORC poll say they are “very angry” and 38 percent are “somewhat angry” about the direction of the country, 31 percent said they had “no anger.”

In CNN’s story on the poll, CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said the number of “very angry” Americans, 31 percent, closely matched the percentage who said the same thing in 2010 when Republicans took back control of the House. Pollsters look very closely at the voters who choose to use the word “very” to describe themselves, believing it means they will be more likely to rush to the ballot box to voice their feelings. While 36 percent of Republican voters said they are “extremely” or “very enthusiastic” about voting this year, just 26 percent of Democrats say the same thing about voting.

“That 10 point difference is certain to affect turnout and hurt Democrats’ chances in marginal districts,” Holland said about the 435 House races in contention next Tuesday.

If Obama is looking for any solace, he might find it in this poll result: Just 13 percent of Americans approve of how Congress is doing its job, while 85 percent disapprove.

A deeper dive into the numbers looks even more foreboding for the Democrats, considering that the vast majority of the pivotal Senate races are occurring in the three regions of the country where Obama’s approval is in the low 40s — the South, the West and the Midwest.

The South, a Republican stronghold, is particularly problematic for the Democrats, considering that Democratic incumbents are battling for re-election in Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. In Georgia, Republicans are trying to hold an open seat after the retirement of Sen. Saxby Chambliss, in addition to protecting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. The president’s disapproval rating in the South is 52 percent.

Democratic incumbents are battling Republicans in Alaska and Colorado — while Obama’s disapproval rating in the West is even higher than the South at 55 percent.

The Democrats are trying to hold onto an open seat in Iowa — Obama’s disapproval rating is an even higher 56 percent in the Midwest.

Obama’s disapproval rating among rural voters is 70 percent. All eight states above with closely contested races have large rural populations.

Asked if they agree with Obama on issues that matter most to them, only 42 percent of respondents said yes, while 55 percent said they disagreed with him.

Experts see the Democrats as definitely losing their seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. This would mean Republicans would need to win just three other seats currently held by Democrats in order to gain a Senate majority.

 

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