NPR Survey: Pre-Election Survey in America's Most Competitive Districts


Today, NPR released a poll of 48 competitive congressional districts - the ones that will decide control of the Congress. It shows the Democrats with a large lead three weeks before the election, even in the 38 Republican-held seats. This bipartisan survey was conducted jointly by Stan Greenberg for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Glen Bolger for Public Opinion Strategies, with POS fielding the survey. Neither NPR nor POS is responsible for the comments below.
 

The NPR survey is identical in its findings to the survey released by Democracy Corps last week, which showed the Democrats in a position to win a majority of the 49 Republican held seats and showed a country determined to vote for change. In the NPR survey, the Democrats hold near landslide margins in the so-called Democratic competitive seats, but the Democrats are ahead by 48 to 44 percent in the “named congressional ballot'? in the 38 Republican seats. With only 44 percent of the vote, Republicans are in jeopardy of losing a large majority of these seats and more. To see the NPR story and broadcast, visit www.npr.org.

Let me highlight some of the important underlying dynamics that are moving the race even more toward the Democrats in this Republican territory:

  • The Democrats now have an 11-point lead in the generic ballot, up 4 points from the summer.
  • Even though 80 percent of the respondents live in Republican held districts, twice as many voters “strongly disapprove" (44 percent) of Bush as “strongly approve" (22 percent). The ratio has worsened for the Republicans.
  • Democrats are consolidated: while 89 percent of Kerry voters are voting Democratic, only 73 percent of Bush voters are voting Republican.
  • Democrats are winning independents in this survey by 20 points.
  • Iraq has jumped up to become the dominant voting issue, well above the war on terrorism, and three-quarters of Iraq voters are voting Democratic. The president has unintentionally nationalized the election around the Iraq war.
  • National security events, like North Korea, are not helping the president even in these mostly Republican districts. When asked about how recent events on national security are impacting their vote, Republicans emerged with no advantage.
  • Democrats could make further gains on engagement and turnout, despite the vaunted Republican turnout effort. The enthusiasm gap is almost breathtaking: 59 percent of Democratic voters say they are more enthusiastic than usual, compared to only 43 percent of Republican voters - a 16-point gap. For Democratic and Republican base voters, the gap expands to 20 points.


While Democrats have moved into a significant lead in the Republican districts, the underlying dynamic on partisan sentiment, intensity of feelings, and engagement revealed in this bipartisan poll, could tilt the playing field further in the final weeks.

 

Methodology

This summary is based on a bi-partisan survey conducted between October 6 and October 13, 2006 of 1,000 likely voters in the 48 most competitive congressional districts in the US. The poll was commissioned by National Public Radio and carried out by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Public Opinion Strategies. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The districts surveyed include: CT 2, NM 1, FL 22, KY 4, OH 18,  CO 7, IA 1, IN 8, IN 9, CT 4, IL 6, PA 6, OH 15, NY 24, VA 2, NC 11, AZ 8, PA 7, IN 2, MN 6, OH 1, IL 8, TX 22, PA 8, CT 5, PA 10, IA 3, WA 8, GA 12, WI 8, NY 20, TX 23, AZ 5, WV 1, VT AL, FL 13, GA 8, TX 17, LA 3, KY 3, SC 5, CO 4, NV 3, NY 29, NH 2, NY 25, NJ 7, OH 6.

 

Key Findings

  • Democrats now have an 11-point lead in the generic ballot, up 4 points from the summer.
  • Even though 80 percent of the respondents live in Republican held districts, twice as many voters “strongly disapprove" of Bush as “strongly approve."
  • Iraq has jumped up to become the dominant voting issue, well above the war on terrorism, and three-quarters of Iraq voters are voting Democratic. The president has unintentionally nationalized the election around the Iraq war.
  • National security events, like North Korea, are not helping the president even in these mostly Republican districts.
  • Democrats could make further gains on engagement and turnout, despite the vaunted Republican turnout effort.

"Democrats hold near landslide margins in the so-called Democratic competitive seats, but the Democrats are ahead by 48 to 44 percent in the “named congressional ballot" in the 38 Republican seats. With only 44 percent of the vote, Republicans are in jeopardy of losing a large majority of these seats and more."

 

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