Voters’ sour mood continues. They give bad grades to current leaders. Few feel they’re better off since Barack Obama became president. And most lament that his 840 days remaining in office is “too long a time,” according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.
It all adds up to greater support for the party that doesn’t hold the White House, as the GOP shows significant strength in the Senate battleground ballot test a month before the election.
People don’t like the way things are going in the country, although fewer feel that way now than four years ago. The new poll finds 59 percent are dissatisfied compared to 68 percent in September 2010. Forty percent are satisfied now, up from 32 percent in 2010.
These sentiments include a large dose of partisanship. While 62 percent of Democrats are satisfied with how things are going, just 22 percent of Republicans are.
Views split over the economy: 43 percent of voters feel like it’s getting better and 43 percent feel it’s getting worse.
At the personal level, only 24 percent feel their family is better off since 2008.
“President Barack Obama, meet President George H.W. Bush,” quips Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News poll alongside Democratic pollster Chris Anderson. “Relatively good economic news doesn’t seem to be penetrating the public’s perception that things are pretty bad."
Meanwhile, by a 54 to 37 percent margin, voters wish ObamaCare had “never passed.” Those numbers haven’t moved more than one point in either direction since December.
All of that plays into this: 47 percent of likely voters would back the Republican candidate in their House district, while 40 percent would vote for the Democrat (if the election were today). That’s unchanged from earlier this month.
Party strength is equally matched as 86 percent of Democrats plan to vote for their party’s House candidate, and 90 percent of Republicans will do the same. Independents are twice as likely to back the Republican over the Democrat.
Men back the GOP candidate, by 53 to 35 percent, while women are more likely to vote for the Democrat in their district by 45 to 41. Veterans and those currently serving in the military would back the Republican by 55 to 30 percent. Whites support the GOP candidate by 55 to 30 percent, while blacks, by 81 to 12 percent, and Hispanics, by 58 to 26 percent, back the Democrat.
An 80 percent majority of those who are glad the health care law passed are voting for the Democratic candidate in their district, while 72 percent of those who don’t like the law back the Republican.
Moving to the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, the poll shows likely voters also give an edge to the GOP by a 47 to 43 percent margin in states with Senate races.
The results are even more striking in the 14 Fox News Senate battleground states, where the Republican candidate is favored over the Democrat by 53 to 38 percent.
President Obama doesn’t help candidates. Twenty-six percent of likely voters say expressing opposition to Obama is a reason behind their Senate vote, while 17 percent say their vote is to express support. Nearly 6 in 10, or 56 percent, say Obama is not a factor in their Senate vote.
Party enthusiasm also gives the GOP a boost. Among likely voters, Republicans (41 percent) are more likely to be “extremely” interested in the election than Democrats (31 percent).
Republicans lead Democrats on the generic House ballot despite performing worse in congressional job ratings. Of course, neither party performs well. Just 29 percent of voters approve of congressional Democrats and only 23 percent approve of congressional Republicans.
As in the past, one reason for the approval gap between the parties is party loyalty. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats approve of congressional Democrats while 42 percent of Republicans approve of GOP lawmakers.
Independents give both congressional Republicans (11 percent approval) and Democrats (18 percent approval) low marks.
Voters are still displeased with the job President Obama is doing on the top issues: terrorism (41 approve-53 disapprove), the economy (40 approve-55 disapprove), Iraq (38 approve-53 disapprove), foreign policy (35 approve-55 disapprove) and Syria (34 approve-54 disapprove).
However, taking action against the Islamic State has helped the president’s ratings in some areas. Approval of the job he’s doing has improved on Syria (+7 points), Iraq (+4 points) and terrorism (+3 points) since the beginning of September.
For Obama’s overall job performance, 40 percent of voters approve, while 52 percent disapprove. He received his worst ratings earlier this month: 38 to 56 percent (September 7-9).
Seventy-six percent of Democrats approve of Obama. In the 2012 election, 92 percent of Democrats backed him according to the Fox News exit poll.
Twenty-six percent of independents approve of the president today. That’s just one point higher than his record low approval rating among this group.
Obama receives positive marks from Hispanics, as 53 percent approve, while 36 percent disapprove. Even so, that’s a significant decline from the 71 percent who voted for him in 2012.
Voters continue to rank the economy as the top issue facing the country -- although the number citing it is down to 34 percent. That’s a 15-point drop from 49 percent in January. The second biggest problem has changed. Health care used to be number two, but it’s been eclipsed by terrorism, which comes in at 19 percent. That’s up from just 3 percent at the beginning of the year. Immigration (9 percent), health care (6 percent) and the federal deficit (6 percent) round-out the list of national priorities.
Considering only economic issues, voters prioritize jobs (34 percent) and government spending (34 percent) over income inequality (14 percent) and taxes (8 percent).
Obama has approximately 840 days left in office. A 53 percent majority says that’s “too long a time,” including 22 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of liberals and 50 percent of voters under age 30.
Is Obama a lame-duck president? Forty-six percent say yes, while 48 percent disagree.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,049 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from September 28-30, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. For the subgroup of 845 likely voters, the margin of sampling error is also plus or minus three points.
The Fox News battleground states in this poll were: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, South Dakota and West Virginia.