NEW YORK – Nearly half of likely voters — 49 percent — favor the Democratic candidate in their House district and 36 percent the Republican, with 15 percent still undecided in a FOX News poll conducted the final weekend before the midterm elections.
More Democrats (37 percent) than Republicans (26 percent) say they are extremely interested in tomorrow’s elections, and more Democrats (89 percent) than Republicans (81 percent) say they plan to vote for their party’s candidate in their district.
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"The issue is whether Republican targeting and their ‘get-out-to-vote’ machine can overcome the greater Democratic interest in the electorate," says Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "Who is likely to vote will make the difference tomorrow."
Independents favor the Democratic candidate by 42 percent to 27 percent, with 30 percent saying they will vote for a third party candidate or are still undecided, which raises the question of whether these independents really will vote tomorrow.
Among those saying they will vote for the Democratic House candidate, twice as many say it is because they want a change in leadership (54 percent), while others say it is because they agree with the policies of the Democratic Party (21 percent).
On the flip side, those voting for the Republican are more likely to say their vote is because they agree with the party’s policies (40 percent), than to keep the current leadership (29 percent).
Votes for the Democratic candidates look more solid: 86 percent say they will definitely vote for the Democrat and 12 percent say they could still change their mind. Among those favoring the Republican candidate in their district, 78 percent are definite they will vote that way and 19 percent say they may change their vote.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 likely voters for FOX News from November 4 to November 5. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
By a 13-percentage point margin, more voters think most Democrats in Congress deserve to be re-elected (46 percent) than think most Republicans deserve re-election (33 percent). Furthermore, a 52-percent majority of voters says most Republicans in Congress do not deserve re-election, including 33 percent of self-identified Republicans.
A majority approves of the job their own representative is doing (53 percent), although most disapprove of the job Congress is doing overall (57 percent).
President Bush ’s job ratings continue to stay in negative territory this week: a 54-percent majority of Americans disapproves of the job Bush is doing and 38 percent approve, down 2 percentage points since late October.
For reference, according to 1994 midterm election exit poll results, at that time 44 percent of voters said they approved of the job President Clinton was doing and 52 percent disapproved. Six years into Clinton’s presidency, the same point as Bush is today, 55 percent of voters approved and 43 percent disapproved (1998 FOX News Exit Poll).
Voters who approve of Bush’s job performance favor the Republican House candidate by 75 percent to 9 percent, while those who disapprove back the Democrat by fully 78 percent.
In addition, voters say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes Bush on key issues (39 percent) than for one who supports Bush (25 percent). One in three voters say Bush will not be a major factor in their vote for Congress this year.
Although half of voters say they will give the candidate’s political party the same amount of consideration this year as in the past, four times as many (37 percent) say the candidate’s party will be more important this year when deciding their vote than say it will be less important (9 percent).
Americans are about equally likely to say the country would be safe from terrorism if Democrats gain control of Congress (28 percent) or if Republicans keep control (31 percent), with another 35 percent saying it would not make a difference which party has control.
On Iraq, by a 37 percent to 30 percent margin, voters think it is more likely a solution would be found if Democrats win control than if Republicans stay in power.
Finally, a 61 percent majority of voters think Democrats will try to cancel the Bush administration tax cuts if they win control of Congress, including not only 73 percent of Republicans, but also 56 percent of Democrats.