With less than 100 days until the midterm elections, American voters would give the edge to Republicans by an 11 percentage-point margin if the Congressional election were today. Yet a majority doesn't think a Republican takeover of Congress would lead to positive change.
A Fox News poll released Thursday finds that if Americans were heading to the voting booth today, they would back the Republican candidate in their district over the Democrat by 47-36 percent. Two weeks ago the Republicans had a slimmer 4-point advantage (41-37 percent).
As has been the case all year, Republicans continue to be more interested in the upcoming election. Thirty-six percent of Republicans are "extremely" interested compared to 23 percent of Democrats.
Despite the Republican edge on the generic ballot question, voters have mixed views on how things would change if the GOP gained control of Congress. Thirty-eight percent think there would be no real change. Thirty-seven percent think it would lead to change for the better, while 21 percent say it would change for the worse.
Even a third of Republicans (33 percent) think there would be no change — though a 63 percent majority does think it would be an improvement. Less than half of Democrats (45 percent) say a Republican takeover would lead to a change for the worse, and several (38 percent) say there would be no real difference.
For independents, 35 percent think a Republican takeover would lead to change for the better, 17 percent say change for the worse, while a 44-percent plurality says no change.
Voters in general are more than three times as likely to disapprove (71 percent) as approve (21 percent) of the job Congress is doing today.
Top Issues to Vote
No doubt the top issue on the minds of American voters this year is the economy. Almost all (95 percent) say the economy will be important to their vote for Congress, including over half — 57 percent — who say it will be "extremely" important.
Fifty-one percent say health care and 44 percent say the federal deficit will be "extremely" important to their vote, followed by taxes (40 percent), terrorism (39 percent) and immigration (30 percent).
Among voters who say the economy is "extremely" important to their vote for Congress, Republicans have a 20-point advantage. The Republicans have a 16-point edge among those who say health care is "extremely" important to their vote.
Rating President Obama
Approval of President Obama's job performance stands at 43 percent, unchanged from two weeks ago. Half of American voters disapprove (50 percent), compared to 48 percent in mid-July.
For the year 2010 the president's average approval is 46 percent. His average was 56 percent in 2009.
On the issues, Obama receives his highest approval on handling race relations (50 percent approve). That's followed by terrorism (49 percent approve) and Afghanistan (42 percent approve).
The president receives negative ratings on the three most important issues to voters this election year. Many more disapprove than approve of how he's doing on the economy (59 percent disapprove-38 percent approve) and the federal deficit (65 percent disapprove-31 percent approve). On his handling of health care, 55 percent disapprove and 41 percent approve.
All in all, 47 percent of voters think Obama's positions are "too liberal." That's up from 35 percent who thought so in April 2009. The number saying the president's views are "about right" has dropped to 39 percent, down from a 53 percent majority last year. Hardly any — 7 percent — think Obama is "too conservative."
Imagine running for office as a Democratic candidate this year — would you want Obama to campaign for you? Views are sharply divided: 48 percent would want the president to campaign for them, while 50 percent would want him to stay home.
A large 82 percent majority of Democrats would want Obama to campaign on their behalf. Seventeen percent wouldn't.
Among independents, 38 percent would want the president's help, while 59 percent wouldn't.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from July 27 to July 28. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
By a 7-point margin, voters are more likely to say race relations in the United States have gotten worse (37 percent) rather than better (30 percent) since Obama became president. Just over one in four says there has been no difference (26 percent).
The week after Barack Obama took office 69 percent of voters said they thought race relations would get better with his election as president.
By equal margins, the new poll finds white voters are more likely to say things have gotten worse, while black voters are more likely to say things have gotten better. Twenty-five percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks say there has been no change in race relations since Obama became president.
Of all the issue areas tested, President Obama receives the highest percentage approval for his handling of race relations. Overall, half of voters (50 percent) approve and 34 percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing. The remaining 15 percent are unsure.
More than 8 of 10 black voters (82 percent) approve of the job Obama is doing on race. Just 6 percent disapprove. Among white voters, 46 percent approve and 39 percent disapprove.