Ever since the government shutdown ended, there has been a great deal of discussion of the widening advantage held by Democrats in a generic match-up for Congress. Here at Victoria Research, we decided to conduct a poll that focused on some of the Republican-held districts that would have to be in play in order for that takeover to happen, and find out whether new shutdown messaging could change the dynamic in these seats and lead to a Democratic majority. The districts we chose were CA10, CA21, CA25, FL10, IA 03, IA 04, KY06, MI01, MI06, MI07, NJ03, NY19, NY23, PA07, VA02, VA10, WA08, and WI07. Our findings do not present a slam dunk for either Democrats or Republicans.
- In the generic trial heat in these 18 districts, 37% said they were inclined to vote for the Republican for Congress, 33% said the Democrat, and a large group, 30%, were not sure. This +4 R finding is not far off the Cook Partisan Index, which averages +2.4 R for these 18 districts.
- The slight Republican tilt makes Speaker Boehner’s ratings even more surprising: in these key, GOP-held districts 51% of voters view Boehner unfavorably, and only 32% are favorable. We will be looking for ways to make Boehner an issue in 2014 races.
- Some of these districts have to be won in order to get to a 218 seat Democratic majority; but the demographics of these seats make it very tough. Taken as a group, voters in these districts are 89% white/non-minority. Such atypical electorates are tough sledding for Democrats. Democrats and progressives need to realize that we actually need to change the likely electorate through voter registration, GOTV efforts, and fighting voter suppression, or these seats are not in reach.
- Republicans cannot rest easy in these 18 districts, despite the advantages; voters are dissatisfied with these GOP incumbents, with 57% saying their Congressperson is “part of the problem in Washington." And contrasting messaging paragraphs show tantalizing parity for Democrats who portray these Republicans as hurting the middle class with the shutdown and their battle to block Obamacare.
To read the complete memo, click HERE.
This survey was conducted October 23rd-25th using a voterfile sample of likely 2014 voters. Live interviewers hand-dialed all numbers to complete 400 interviews on mobile and landline phones. Respondents were weighted by age. Age, gender, partisan scores, and race were checked against actual counts from the voter files for the sampled congressional districts. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 4.9% at the 95% confidence interval.