09/14/2006 - As the congressional midterm campaign begins in earnest, the mood of the electorate is sharply drawn. Voters are disappointed with Congress and disapproving of President Bush. Anti-incumbent sentiment, while a bit lower than a few months ago, is far more extensive than in the previous two midterms and remains close to 1994 levels. Moreover, there are indications that voters are viewing the election through the prism of national issues and concerns. Many more voters see their vote as being against the president than at a comparable point in 1994, and a solid majority says party control of Congress will be a factor in their voting decision.
Voters are expressing strong and consistent anti-Republican attitudes. The GOP lags well behind the Democratic Party on nearly all major issues, including the economy, Iraq, education, health care, the environment and the budget deficit. And the Republicans have lost ground in recent years even on such traditional strengths as terrorism and improving the nation's morality.
As in six previous surveys over the past 12 months, voters by a wide margin say they favor the Democratic congressional candidate in their district (50%-39%). When the sample is narrowed to likely voters, approximately half of registered voters, the Democratic lead is undiminished. That Democrats poll as well among likely voters as among all voters may reflect the fact that Democrats, in contrast to recent campaigns, are more enthusiastic about voting than are Republicans.
Read the full report Democrats Hold Solid Lead; Strong Anti-Incumbent, Anti-Bush Mood on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.