Views are sharply divided when it comes to this year's congressional elections, as almost equal numbers of voters say they want each of the two major political parties to win. Looking to the next presidential election, slightly more people say they would vote for someone else rather than vote to re-elect President Obama.
While 38 percent of voters say they want Democrats to win this year's congressional elections, 37 percent want Republicans to win. The remaining 25 percent say "neither" or are unsure.
Not surprisingly, 81 percent of Democrats want Democrats to win and 85 percent of Republicans want their party to control Congress.
Among the critical swing group of independents, 23 percent want Democrats to win, 22 percent Republicans, 26 percent "neither" and 30 percent are unsure.
The national telephone poll was conducted for Fox News by Opinion Dynamics Corp. among 900 registered voters from Jan. 12 to Jan. 13. For the total sample, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Similar division is found on re-electing incumbents versus starting fresh: 43 percent of voters think it would be "good for the country" if all current members of Congress were voted out of office, while 44 percent think it would be a bad for the country to throw them all out.
Partisan views are completely opposite of each other, as the number of Democrats (57 percent) who think it would be bad for the country to vote out all the incumbents is identical to the number of Republicans (57 percent) who say it would be good.
By 50 percent to 35 percent, more independents say it would be good to start fresh with all new representatives. Given the influence of independent voters in recent elections, obviously this is a group that will be closely watched as the midterm elections approach.
One issue where there is fairly clear agreement is on the motivations of the country's elected leaders. A clear 67-percent majority of Americans think elected officials are more interested in power and wealth for themselves, while 14 percent think they are more interested in public service for their constituents.
To varying degrees, majorities of Democrats (58 percent), Republicans (79 percent) and independents (72 percent) agree the country's politicians are in it for themselves, not for the people they represent.
Vote to Re-elect in 2012?
With the president having been in office for about a year, 43 percent of Americans say they would vote to re-elect Barack Obama if the 2012 election were held today, which is unchanged from October, yet is down from 52 percent who said they would re-elect him in April.
All in all, 47 percent of Americans say they would vote for someone else rather than re-electing President Obama, up from 31 percent in April.
Moreover, the number saying they would "definitely" vote to re-elect Obama has declined — going from 37 percent in April to 26 percent in October to 23 percent in the new poll.
Among Democrats, 46 percent say they would "definitely" vote to re-elect Obama, down from 69 percent in April. Similarly, among people who voted for Obama in the 2008 election, the poll shows 43 percent would "definitely" vote to re-elect him, down from 57 percent.
In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, President Obama tops each of the Republican candidates tested.
By 47 percent to 35 percent Obama bests former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The president has an even wider edge over former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (55 percent to 31 percent), and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (53 percent to 29 percent).
Finally, twice as many people say they would vote for Obama (48 percent) as would back a candidate from the Tea Party movement (23 percent).