06/27/2006 - With less than five months to go before Election Day, Democrats hold distinct advantages in the midterm campaign that they have not enjoyed for some time. Voters continue to say they favor the Democratic candidate in their district, by a 51% to 39% margin. And the level of enthusiasm about voting among Democrats is unusually high, and is atypically low among Republicans. In fact, Democrats now hold a voter enthusiasm advantage that is the mirror image of the GOP's edge in voter zeal leading up to the 1994 midterm election.
Public anger with Congress continues to rise, and anti-incumbent sentiment has reached new highs, according to the latest survey of 1,501 Americans conducted June 14-19 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. The sour public mood currently favors the minority party, as 46% of Democratic voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of Republicans. In October 1994, Republicans held a comparable advantage on this measure (by 45%-30%).
But Democratic zeal is mostly driven by anger toward President Bush and Republican leaders, not support for Democratic leaders. Just half of Democrats approve of the job performance of Democratic leaders in Congress; by contrast, 58% of Republicans give positive ratings to GOP leaders. And 64% of Democrats say their party is doing only a fair or poor job in standing up for its traditional positions on such things as protecting the interests of minorities and helping the poor.
Read the full report 'Enthusiasm Gap' Favors Democrats This Yearors Democrats This Year on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.