U.S. public: Think Democrat, vote Republican?

A Washington Post poll finds voters support Democratic principles, but intend to vote for the Republicans. What gives?

Why would voters say they support Democrats but then vote Republican?
(Image credit: Corbis)

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll gives the Republican Party a 13-point lead over the Democrats in the build-up to November's midterm elections — the latest in a series of worrying signs for the incumbent party. But a closer look at the numbers suggests the same respondents support the Democrats on many key issues. When asked which party would do a "better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years," the Democrats had a three-point lead over the GOP. When asked if "most of the Republicans in Congress deserve to be re-elected," a third said yes, but 58 percent said no. What does this mean?

It's the economy, stupid: Let's get this straight, says Tim Fernholz at The American Prospect. Americans identify more with Democrats than with the GOP, they don't like the Tea Party, and they blame George W. Bush for the recession. And yet they're going to give the Republicans a landslide victory? Clearly, "economic woes" are behind this shift in support, "not concern over the Democrats' agenda."

"What are voters thinking?"

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Americans are rejecting Democrats, from Obama down: The Democrats must really be in trouble, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, now that even The Washington Post's left-skewing polls say the GOP's gaining momentum. Voters have "concluded that Obamanomics is a flop" — in April 58 percent of Americans thought it had had no effect or made the economy worse, but now 69 percent feel that way. The only way to interpret that is as a rejection of President Obama's agenda.

"Wash. Post/ABC poll puts GOP up by 13 in generic congressional ballot"

There's a lesson here for Republicans: Democrats are no doubt "headed to an electoral thumping this November," says Paul Thornton in the Los Angeles Times. But these numbers are also a "lesson for Republicans concerned about their party's long-term viability." GOP principles are not firing up the voters. Unless Republicans use their November gains to enact some policies Americans actually like, the GOP's long-term prospects are pretty grim.

"The Republican Party is still on life support"

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