NEW YORK – If the Congressional elections were held today, voters say they would back the Democratic candidate over the Republican by 46 percent to 33 percent. Furthermore, if Democrats win control of Congress, most voters say it would make a difference to their life, according to the latest FOX News national registered voter poll.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 13 to June 14. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
If the election were today, not surprisingly most Democrats (89 percent) say they would vote for their party’s candidate, as do most Republicans (85 percent). Independents, the voting group that politicos and pundits like to watch, are twice as likely to give their support to the Democrat (31 percent) as the Republican (15 percent).
Over half of independents (55 percent) say they are undecided, more than double the number of undecided voters overall (20 percent).
"The way independents eventually decide to go will clearly be decisive," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "The fact that right now those who’ve made up their minds are going 2-to-1 for the Democrats is not good for Republican prospects. However, many Congressional races are decided at the local level, not by national trends. A representative’s personal popularity, campaign organization and the quality of his or her opponent may be far more important than these results."
If the election does shift control of Congress from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party, voters say it would definitely affect them. More than a third says it would make "a lot" of difference in their life (36 percent), 30 percent "some" and 16 percent "a little." About one in 10 says it would make no difference at all.
Democrats (76 percent) are somewhat more likely than Republicans (65 percent) to say it would make a lot or some difference to their life.
Overall, those saying Democrats controlling Congress would make a difference in their life are twice as likely to say it would make a difference for the better (60 percent) than for the worse (30 percent).
As one would expect, 92 percent of Democrats say a difference for the better, while 71 percent of Republicans say for the worse.
Hot Issues on Capitol Hill
On Capitol Hill last week, the Senate voted down a constitutional amendment to make marriage between a man and a woman. An anti-flag burning amendment is expected to come up soon. These issues fail to impress voters as items lawmakers should be spending time on right now.
Instead, voters say Iraq (35 percent), gas prices (28 percent) and immigration (26 percent) should be the top priorities for Congress this summer.
Despite a majority of the public opposing gay marriage specifically (64 percent), over half believe there should be some form of legal recognition for same-sex marriages (52 percent).
About a quarter think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally (27 percent) and about the same number support allowing a "legal partnership" similar to but not called marriage (25 percent). Almost four in 10 Americans think there should be no legal recognition given to gay and lesbian relationships (39 percent).
Those most likely to support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally include liberals (50 percent), people under age 30 (41 percent) and Democrats (41 percent).
Conservatives (59 percent), Republicans (55 percent), people age 65 and over (53 percent) and those with less than a college education (47 percent) are among those most likely to say there should be no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.
Views are somewhat mixed on whether the issue of gay marriage should be handled at the state level (48 percent) or by the federal government (38 percent).
Does Congress Deserve a Vacation?
Americans think Congress has not accomplished enough this term to deserve a summer vacation (79 percent). That’s a fairly bi-partisan sentiment: 83 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans think Congress does not deserve a break.
Moreover, voters are twice as likely to say they disapprove (59 percent) as approve (29 percent) of the job Congress is doing today.
And although voters say the issue of gas prices should be a priority for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, most say they have not changed summer travel plans because of gas prices (69 percent).
PDF: Click here for full poll results.