Democrats have a ten percentage point lead over Republicans in a generic ballot for the 2018 midterm congressional elections according to a new poll released by NBC News at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday.
Exactly half of the registered voters polled in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll say they want Congress controlled by Democrats, while just 40% say they would prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.
The same poll in January showed Democrats with just a 6 percent lead in the generic congressional ballot.
The generic congressional ballot is considered a strong indicator of voter preference and how the November elections are likely to turn out.
In a related finding, the poll found that just 43 percent of registered voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. This is the lowest approval rating at the 14-month point of a presidency over the past 70 years.
When added with the strong preference for Democrats to be in charge of Congress, Trump’s historically-low approval ratings are a bad sign for Republicans’ chances in the fall elections.
One more factor which the poll addresses, and which has been shown to impact elections significantly, is the so-called enthusiasm gap. Democrats have an edge here also, as 60 percent of Democrats say they have a “high degree” of interest in the upcoming elections.
The poll also has this important finding: “Among independent voters, Democrats lead in congressional preference by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.” This is of course important since in many close elections it is the independents who are the “swing voters” who decide the outcome of the elections.
The poll also allowed respondents to express their opinions on political figures and institutions.
According to NBC, “the most popular political figures and institutions are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (48 percent positive, 20 percent negative), Planned Parenthood (52 percent positive, 25 percent negative), the “Me Too” Movement (35 percent positive, 18 percent negative) and special counsel Robert Mueller (28 percent positive, 19 percent negative).”
“The most unpopular figures and institutions include House Speaker Paul Ryan (24 percent positive, 37 percent negative), President Trump (37 percent positive, 52 percent negative) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (21 percent positive, 43 percent negative).”
The live-caller NBC/WSJ poll was conducted March 10-14 of 1,100 adults and has a margin of error of 3 percent.